Western Europe Loses A Fifth Of Its PC Market In A Year

Gartner reports worst ever quarterly decline for PC shipments in the region

The PC market has declined 20.5 percent year-on-year in Western Europe, with France hit the hardest, according to research from Gartner.

Vendors shipped just 12.3 million units in the first three months of 2013, as opposed to 15.5 million in the same period in 2012. The US research firm says this is the worst quarterly decline in the region since it first started tracking PC shipment data.

The UK market decreased 15.8 percent, but fared much better than its European neighbours.

In the beginning of the year, both HP and Acer lost a lot of market share (more than 30 percent) while Apple and Lenovo actually grew their shipments. Despite this, HP has remained the overall market leader.

Battle for survival

It is a universally recognised fact that traditional PCs are being replaced by smartphones and tablets. However, the speed of this transition is making even the most well-established industry players nervous.

Pavel IgnatovIn the first three months of 2013, shipments of powerful PCs for professional purposes declined slower than consumer PCs – 17.2 percent, compared with 23.7 percent for less capable machines. However, users in both categories are still not warming to Windows 8, which some analysts blame for this decline in the first place.

“Wide availability of Windows 8-based PCs could not boost consumer PC purchases during the quarter. Although the new Metro-style user interface suits new form factors, users wonder about its suitability for traditional PCs — non-touchscreen desktops and notebooks,” said Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner, stating the obvious somewhat.

HP lost half of its consumer laptop business during the first quarter of 2013, but still managed to hold on to the leading position and 19.7 percent of the market. It could be eventually replaced by Lenovo, which was the fastest-growing vendor for both desktops and laptops, achieving an overall market share of 11.6 percent and remaining the top vendor in Germany for the third consecutive quarter.

In the UK, the PC market has shrunk by 15.8 percent year-on-year, compared with 20 percent in Germany and over 25 percent in France. According to Gartner, the PC market in France is expected to show a further double-digit decline in the second quarter of the year.

The professional PC market in the UK lost just 7.6 percent, highlighting our reliance on in-house infrastructure. “While the professional PC market continues to see the importance of the productivity gained from using a PC, consumers attribute much less value to the use of PCs,” commented Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

In the aforementioned period, British public chose HP as the top vendor, followed by Dell, Lenovo, Acer and Toshiba.

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