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PC Shipments Continue To Fall

David Gilbert


Logo - Gartner

The PC market has come to a standstill in Western Europe according to research published today by Gartner.

A decline of almost 18 percent year-on-year indicates that people are not spending their money on PCs or if they are then it is the tablet market which is benefiting. Of the top five vendors only Apple grew its market share with a 10 percent growth overall and a huge 32 percent growth in its mobile PC devices including the MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air but excludes its iPad. For the first time, Apple has replaced Toshiba in the top five PC vendors in Western Europe in the first three months of this year. HP continued to hold the top position despite a 15 percent drop in its sales figures overall and a 25 percent fall in laptops, compared to the same period in 2010.

Gartner PC Shipments

“The PC market in Western Europe has not exhibited a decline since the second quarter of 2009,” said Meike Escherich, principal analyst at Gartner. “This quarter’s poor performance was due to excess inventory accumulated at the end of the fourth quarter of 2010 in many coutries in Western Europe. The excess inventory was reduced only slightly, as demand came to a standstill.” Analysts at Gartner believe that people were not spending their disposable income on PCs or if they were, were choosing to buy tablets instead. PC shipments in the consumer market declined 25 percent year-on-year, with the mini-notebook segment hit especially hard which accounted for Asus’ decline. The professional market didn’t decline as much as the consumer market but still suffered an eight percent drop.

The drop in PC shipments in the UK was 17.5 percent, which was the largest decline of the three major Western European countries. With the sector in a state of flux at the moment whether or not the current decline is set to continue is a question all the major manufacturers will have to face up too, sooner rather than later.

Source: Gartner


May 18, 2011, 12:44 am

it's not hard to work out the reason,people have moved from the bedroom to the living room,back in the day you couldnt connect a pc to a crt now with cheap digital hi res tellies nobody wants a huge box in the living room.


May 18, 2011, 2:47 am

do i win the award for stating the b****y obvious?.


May 18, 2011, 7:17 am

Personal Computers (in the broadest sense of the term) are now available in more forms than ever before. Desktops, laptops, netbooks, nettops, HTPCs, tablets, smartphones et al. With so many alternatives to choose from, it's not surprising that the old guard would take a hit. Perhaps this is similar to when Mercedes and BMW started offering 4x4s, hatchbacks and superminis in their range, they wondered why their traditional saloon sales fell off.


May 18, 2011, 2:10 pm

Do we need to look for any explanation beyond the obvious?

At the time I bought my first PC (1986!), PCs were doubling in performance every couple of years or so... seemingly in the blink of an eye a new PC became too underpowered to run the latest software and was fit only for the skip.

These days you can browse the web, edit photos, run Word, Excel, etc. on most PCs from the last 10 years. Indeed I'm doing relatively CPU-intensive stuff on a desktop from 2006 with one of the first Core 2 CPUs. And I long ago tired of spending silly money trying to stay ahead of the GPU/CPU curve to get the best from the latest games, instead buying the console editions comforted by the fact that the release had been specifically optimized for the target platform and I was getting the exact same experience as everyone else.

Or, in short: in the middle of a recession, folk have higher priorities than upgrading perfectly good current PCs... I'm surprised sales have held up as well as they have.


May 19, 2011, 10:58 am

I think the real story here is how Apple continue to deliver stella performance, in a recession and against the massive decline in PC sales shown in your article. This is even more remarkable when you consider that their laptop devices are roughly twice the price of most of the competition. For me this can only be explained by people being prepared to pay for superior design, superior quality and superior functionality.


May 19, 2011, 1:49 pm

I think this is a fairly typical observation in a recession.

Apple occupies a premium niche and there are still plenty of people around who do have disposable income.

It's people looking for more utilitarian PCs who are putting off their purchases because they're worried about their jobs, rising food and petrol costs and paying down their credit cards... it's not the potential Apple buyers.

I'm not sure whether Apple's recession-proof sales so much reflect their innate qualities as the lustre of the brand: £100,000 Patek Philippe watches still sell in a recession, but a £10 Casio keeps better time.

Dave 13

August 9, 2011, 8:34 pm

Q1 2010 was just after Windows 7 was released, so of course there was a surge of PC sales back then.
Viewed in that light, it's not really surprising that Q1 2011 can't keep pace with Q1 2010.

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