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European PC sales down as economy slows spending

10 Aug 2012
HP Pavilion dv3 2055ea entertainment notebook

The lingering economic crisis and lagging desktop demand are driving down sales of PCs in Europe, according to analysts, with HP, Acer and Dell all showing double-digit declines in the UK.

Research firm Gartner said that over the second quarter of the year, PC shipments across Europe fell by 2.4 per cent to 13.6 million units. Enterprise PC sales were down 5.3 per cent against the same period in 2011.

Gartner noted that much of the drop was due to a 12.8 per cent decline in desktop PC sales. Notebook systems, meanwhile, saw a growth of 4 per cent over last year.

Overall, HP retained the top spot in the market with a 20.2 per cent share of the market. Acer was second with a 17.3 per cent share, followed by Asus, Dell and Lenovo.

Analysts said that the drop was particularly harsh in the UK, where shipments fell by some 7.6 per cent on the year. The company suggested that things could only get worse for vendors in the UK as PC makers decide to hold back on marketing pushes for fear of slow sales returns.

"The real worry for the U.K. PC market is whether it will ever return to solid growth," said Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal.

"Windows 8 and Ultrabooks now look even more important."

If shipments remain down, analysts believe that prices could also fall in coming months. Gartner analyst Meike Escherich suggested that with Windows 8 on the horizon, vendors could become eager to move their old stock.

"If demand, especially from consumers, remains weak there might be some old stock left in the channels ahead of the Windows 8 launch in October," Esherich said.

"This could lead to significant price cuts in September, and challenges may then arise in selling new products into the channel in the third quarter of 2012."

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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