Sales of consumer PCs in Europe fell during the fourth quarter of last year because vendors failed to add enough functionality to make them attractive to low-end buyers, according to researcher Gartner.
During the final three months of 2000, consumer PC shipments fell by 4.7 per cent, although sales to the home market increased by 12.2 per cent, or 10 million units, over the whole year.
Gartner analyst Brian Gammage said: "You may get more PC for your money than you did a year ago, but for many entry-level buyers, it is still not enough."
He believes that the dollar valuation of the euro made it difficult for manufacturers to add more bells and whistles to low-cost PCs, which would make them more attractive to consumers.
"This is not a decline across the whole consumer market as shipments for higher priced consumer PCs have grown," he added.
In the fourth quarter of 2000, the total number of PC shipments across Europe hit 11 million units, up two per cent on the same quarter a year ago. Sales to the professional sector grew 3.7 per cent to 25.3 million units compared with the year ago quarter and accounted for 72 per cent of the total European PC market.
But Gammage believes that growth in the professional market should increase as more users upgrade to Windows 2000 and replace their older PCs.
Germany bought the most machines at 7.1 million units, an increase of 4.3 per cent, while the UK purchased 6.1 million, up 7.9 per cent. Shipments in France fell by 1.1 per cent to 4.3 million.
Compaq sold the most PCs into Europe last year at 5.24 million machines, grabbing a 14.8 per cent share of the market. Second was Fujistu Siemens with 3.34 million units, but its market share fell by 6.7 per cent to 9.4 per cent. Dell came in third with 2.81 million units, taking an eight per cent slice of the pie, and increasing sales by 3.2 per cent over the year.
But Hewlett Packard showed the largest increase in market share, shipping 2.54 million units, the equivalent of 7.2 per cent of the sector.
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