The European PC market experienced a "disappointing" drop in growth in the first quarter of 1997, according to researcher Dataquest.
Despite shipments to the corporate market increasing by 10.9% over the period, the consumer market actually suffered a slight decline, contributing to an overall growth of just 8.4%, the most disappointing figure for several years according to Dataquest. In the same quarter last year, growth was 11.6%.
The total market share of the top 10 PC vendors remained constant in the quarter, with Compaq showing the largest unit volume growth of 30.6%.
Steve Brazier, associate director of Dataquest's European PC group, said the decline was not unexpected: "After Christmas and the accompanying overstocking by resellers, a slow market in January/February and then the sale of old stock to make way for (Intel's latest) MMX chip, this decline is not surprising. Consumer fears about the economic effects of the single currency have also had an impact. Instead, we are seeing vendors refocus their efforts on the SME (small and medium enterprise) market," said Brazier.
For the first time, Dell overtook HP and Siemens Nixdorf to move into third place in Europe. Dataquest said Dell's climb up the charts was largely thanks to the UK, which provides 42% of its business.
Brazier continued: "Compaq is responding to market pressure both with price cuts and a direct strategy which is a clear challenge to Dell." Meanwhile, Toshiba is doing exceptionally well, with a third of the notebook market and sales growth in all European countries.
"It will also be interesting to see how the 1 April integration of Texas Instruments and Acer is translated in next quarter's figures - simply in terms of joint market share they immediately became a force to reckon with in Europe," Brazier said.
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