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HOME REGIONS EMEA › Consumer demand hits third quarter PC market

Consumer demand hits third quarter PC market

by Stuart Wilson, Monday 24 October 2011

The latest PC data from research house IDC reveals that third quarter shipments in EMEA slipped 3.8% year-on-year to 26.71 million units due to weak consumer demand and greater caution in the commercial channel. Western Europe remains most severely impacted, but IDC also noted a slowdown in demand in the emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

PC shipments in Western Europe contracted for the fourth consecutive quarter, recording a decline of 10.2%, driven primarily by sustained weakness in consumer demand. Eurozone fears and high unemployment hit PC purchases as did the growing propensity for consumers to spend on media tablets and smartphones instead.

"In line with expectations, the Western European consumer PC market declined 20.6% in third quarter 2011 from a sell-in standpoint, as most channel players remained cautious with taking new orders," said Eszter Morvay, research manager at IDC’s EMEA PC research. "However, sell-out continued to improve, albeit moderately, indicating sustained focus on inventory depletion across several countries."

The southern European region continued to suffer the most, with Spain and Italy contracting 37.0% and 31.3% respectively. Both countries remained constrained by very high inventory levels, which coupled with weak demand levels inhibited stronger sell-in. The economic and financial crisis has also led to a sharp drop in Greece and Portugal, which recorded a decline of 27.5% and 26.5% respectively.

Among the key economies of Europe, the UK remained the weakest, with a 10.9% drop in shipment levels, adversely impacted not only by weak consumer demand for PCs but also sustained caution in business IT investments. However, France and Germany fared better, with a softer decline of 1.4% and 3.9% respectively, due to strong demand for commercial portables. The Nordic region displayed the strongest performance this quarter, with the four countries reaching a combined growth rate of 3.3%, thanks to strong commercial demand.

"In line with expectations, the PC markets in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Middle East and Africa (MEA) recorded soft growth at 4.8% and 7.4% respectively," said Stefania Lorenz, research director at IDC CEMA. "The CEE market saw growth across both desktop and portable form factors, with both consumer and commercial segments contributing to the positive trends. Despite the positive outcome from the overall CEE region, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, and Bulgaria performed poorly, due primarily to weak consumer sentiment in these countries.”

“The African continent - excluding South Africa and Egypt - has outperformed the Middle East region in terms of volume growth, recording an increase of 26.4% compared with the same quarter last year, thanks to strong demand for mobility in the consumer space. The Middle East region, including South Africa and Egypt, grew 4.2%, driven by strong expansion in the portable PC market," Lorenz added.

HP maintained a strong leadership and with 20.7% share in EMEA, despite the recent turmoil around the future of HP PSG. Acer remained in second place despite posting yet another quarter of significant decline across all sub-regions. Sell-in levels continued to be adversely impacted by high inventory levels accumulated across both retail and distribution channels over the past year, and the vendor continued to focus on stock depletion. The current uncertainty around Acer’s future strategic direction as well as the alienation of many of its largest channel partners also continued to contribute to the vendor’s negative results.

Asus moved to third place in the overall EMEA ranking while Dell slipped to fourth place. Lenovo maintained fifth place, enjoying robust double-digit growth and consolidating market share across each sub-region. Lenovo benefited from the acquisition of Medion in the consumer space, while reinforcing its position in the commercial segment.

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