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EMEA desktop sales suffer in third quarter

by Stuart Wilson, Tuesday 20 October 2009

IDC has provided deeper insight into its third quarter analysis of the EMEA PC market. The research house concluded that the market contracted for the third consecutive quarter with shipments down 8% year-on-year at 24.68 million units, according to preliminary data. Desktop PC shipments were hardest hit, slumping 22.3% year-on-year as notebook form factors continued to grab market share.

Drilling down deeper into the EMEA market, Western Europe fared well with shipments climbing 0.8% year-on-year driven by consumer demand and the ‘back-to-school’ season. Central and Eastern Europe was hardest hit, recording a 30.9% year-on-year decline in PC sales in the third quarter. Despite a brief rebound last quarter, the MEA market recorded PC sales down 5.1% year-on-year for the third quarter.

The inexorable rise of notebook form factors continued in the third quarter, with this segment now accounting for 67% of all PC sales, according to IDC. In Western Europe, consumer notebook sales surged 26.2%, driven by aggressive vendor activity in the retail and telecoms channel. A shift towards entry-level systems and netbooks meant that margins remain under significant pressure.

"Buoyancy in the EMEA mini notebook market continued unabated, with an estimated four million units shipped in the back-to-school season," said Eszter Morvay, research manager, IDC EMEA personal computing. "The market has clearly benefited from further expansion of product availability, including new designs with 11.6-inch screens, as well as expansion in terms of available routes to market. As expected, the share of the telco channel continued to increase, with more dedicated investment and resources from top players, including Acer, Asus, and Samsung."

The business PC sector remains a tough market with companies remaining cautious despite the first embryonic signs of economic improvement. IDC’s third quarter release stated: “There is increasing interest in new projects in some mature markets, driven by the need to replace the ageing installed base, lack of warranty, and the arrival of the new OS, but rollout is expected to remain subdued in the short term.”

Stefania Lorenz, research director, systems and infrastructure solutions at IDC CEMA, added: "Continuing its downward trend, the CEMA PC market reported year-on-year contractions of 21.2% in unit shipments. Both the Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa regions are yet to recover from the economic crisis, with both continuing to suffer heavy market declines."

"In the third quarter of 2009, CEE posted 4.5 million PC shipments, which represents a year-on-year contraction of 30.9%, with neither notebook or desktop markets able to sustain any growth. Both product markets plunged by 27.3% and 35.5%, respectively. Despite contracting 5.1% year on year in overall volume, the MEA PC market was able to maintain growth in the notebook space, by reporting annual growth of 16.6% compared to the weak results posted by the desktop market at minus 25.4%, the MEA region shipped 3.7 million PCs in the third quarter of 2009. The outlook for CEMA remains gloomy for the fourth quarter of 2009," Lorenz added.

Acer took top spot in the vendor rankings in the third quarter with shipments up 15.6% to 5.71 million units – a market share of 23.2%, according to IDC. Acer’s success was driven primarily by netbooks, entry level notebooks and increased sales through the telecoms channel. Aggressive offers also helped Acer carve out market share in the mainstream notebook market.

HP slipped to second place despite boosting its market share to 20.4% - up from 19.4% a year earlier. Dell held on to third place despite seeing shipments decline 15% year-on-year to 2.26 million units. IDC reckons that Dell suffered from the market contraction in CEE and lackluster performance in Western Europe due to weakness in business spending.

The top five vendors by unit sales according to preliminary IDC results were:

1. Acer 5.72 million units

2. HP 5.05 million units

3. Dell 2.26 million units

4. Asus 1.79 million units

5. Toshiba 1.35 million units

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