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.
“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.