PC shipments in Western Europe totaled 16.3 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 16% decline from the equivalent period in 2010, according to Gartner, Inc. For the year, PC shipments numbered 58.5 million units in Western Europe in 2011, also a 16 percent decrease from 2010.
The PC market in Western Europe has suffered four consecutive quarters of shipment decline. “Despite aggressive pricing and special holiday deals for PCs, consumers’ attention was caught by other devices, such as smartphones, media tablets and e-readers,” said Meike Escherich, principal analyst at Gartner, in the press release. “Even though we saw a drop in prices, consumer PC shipments could not match the levels of previous years.”
In the fourth quarter of 2011, the PC markets of Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain were particularly hard hit, with year-on-year PC demand declining 30% and more. The mobile PC market in Western Europe declined 17.5 percent during the quarter, while the region’s desktop PC market decreased 12.1 percent.
“Uptake of professional PCs for migrations to Windows 7 remained subdued due to the troubled economic outlook,” said Ms. Escherich. “PC shipments in the professional segment declined 13.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, but the consumer segment suffered a bigger decline, falling 18 percent.”
UK Windows PC Market Exhibited Worst Decline in Five Quarters
In the fourth quarter of 2011, shipments in the U.K. PC market totaled 2.9 million units, a decline of 19.6 percent compared with the equivalent period in 2010. This was the UK’s fifth consecutive quarterly shipment decline, and also its worst decline in five quarters. In 2011, as a whole, the U.K. market declined 15.9 percent, shrinking by nearly 2 million units from 2010.
“The UK market has been a prime illustration of the underlying weakness in PC demand across Western Europe,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, in the press release.
In the fourth quarter of 2011, the U.K. PC market was impacted by the economic upheaval and the growing popularity of smartphones, media tablets and e-readers. As a result, the consumer market continued to shrink, with a decline of more than 20 per cent year-on-year. The professional market was also weak as austerity measures hit the education segment. Mini-notebook shipments declined more than 50 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, indicating the final stage in a shift away from these devices by PC vendors (in the third quarter of 2009 these devices represented over 30 percent of the U.K.’s total mobile PC market).
Four of the top five vendors performed poorly. Only Apple achieved growth, which consolidated its hold on the No. 4 position. “PC vendors face a long, uphill struggle to regain the interest of consumers. The introduction of Ultrabooks in late 2011 is desperately needed,” said Mr. Atwal.
United Kingdom: PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q11 (Thousands of Units)
France: WIndows PC Market Suffered Sixth Consecutive Quarterly Drop
PC shipments in France totaled 2.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, a decline of 11.8 percent compared with the equivalent period in 2010. In 2011 as a whole, PC shipments numbered 10.4 million units, a 12 percent decline from 2010.
“The PC market in France remained weak, with lower sell-in to the channel and a difficult economic environment that squeezed consumer spending,” said Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner, in the press release. As a result, the PC market in France recorded its sixth consecutive quarterly decline in shipments.
The consumer market declined 11.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 as demand for mini-notebooks was lower than in the same period in 2010. “The last quarter of the year is traditionally driven by growth in the consumer segment, but Christmas PC sales in France were disappointing as consumers spent their money on other devices, such as media tablets and smartphones,” said Ms. Durand. The professional market declined 13 percent in the fourth quarter 2011, despite a number of deals being signed in the public sector.
In the fourth quarter of 2011, the mobile PC market accounted for 68 percent of total PC shipments in France, while shipments declined 9.5 percent. Desk-based PC shipments declined 16.5 percent. Shipments of mini-notebooks decreased 36.6 percent.
Of the top five vendors, only Asus and Apple grew in the fourth quarter 2011. Asus achieved the strongest growth and claimed the No. 2 position. HP regained the No. 1 position, while Acer’s market share collapsed as demand for mini-notebooks diminished, causing it to fall to the third position.
France: PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 4Q11 (Thousands of Units)