Tablet sales rose by a huge 910 per cent in the first quarter of 2011, as people continue to flock to the portable form factor at the expense of netbooks, according to figures from market research firm Context.
By comparison, notebook PC sales across Europe fell by 5.8 per cent in the first quarter, and desktop sales dropped by 9.3 per cent year on year.
However, it was the netbook that suffered most, with purchases down by nearly a third compared to the same period last year.
Demand from business users remained steady, but the lack of consumer purchases triggered the sharp decline in sales, according to Context chief executive Jeremy Davies.
"Our numbers show that consumer oriented PC sales across Europe fell 16.5 per cent in the first quarter of the year, but the UK is far more dependent on consumer demand and here sales fell 27.5 per cent," he said.
"The only reason the overall European numbers aren't worse is a strong business PC market in Germany, and across Europe, for the time being at least, demand from business buyers is holding up."
Germany and France managed to post positive year-on-year growth of 12.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively.
"We still have to wait until the vendors report what they shipped into their distribution channels during the first quarter," Davies added.
"But with people buying fewer PCs than previously, the supply chain will be choked and there will be many distributors and retailers trying to get rid of excess stock in the months to come."
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