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Acer grabs top spot in Western Europe

by Stuart Wilson, Wednesday 17 February 2010

Research house Gartner has delved into its data mountain to serve up some fourth quarter titbits on the PC market in Western Europe. According to Gartner, Apple made its debut as a top five vendor in France during the fourth quarter while Acer moved into the number one position across Western Europe as a whole.

Fourth quarter 2009 PC shipments in Western Europe jumped 4% year-on-year to 20.2 million units taking the annual figure to 64.8 million units.

"For the first time in 2009, it was in the fourth quarter that we saw the three major countries in Western Europe posted growth," said Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst at Gartner, based in the UK. Acer took the top spot in the fourth quarter recording 33.9% year-on-year growth in the fourth quarter.

"The Western European PC market performed better than expected. Despite the tough economic conditions the consumer PC market provided vendors with a source of growth. The vendors that were able to execute their strategy clearly benefited from the consumers’ propensity to purchase PCs," he added.

"Outside the top five vendors, we saw Apple, Samsung, Lenovo and Sony post significant growth compared to a year ago. Collectively, these vendors are increasing share and putting considerable competitive pressure on the top five vendors," added Atwal.

While 2009 was underpinned by the consumer PC market, Gartner expects a resurgent business market to drive the PC market in 2010. "Windows 7 migration will act as the catalyst for replacement activity in the professional PC market in 2010," said Atwal.

UK insight

PC shipments in the UK in the fourth quarter of 2009 were up 3.3% year-on-year to 3,8 million units. Total annual UK PC shipments were down 3% in 2009 to 12.5 million units, according to Gartner.

"The UK PC market showed growth in the fourth quarter of 2009 for the first time in the year," said Mr Atwal. "The PC market in the UK has also become heavily dependent on mobile PCs as they accounted for 70% of the total PC market. The consumer mobile PC market continued to dominate the market with growth reaching 24% in the fourth quarter of 2009. The continued uptake of mini-notebooks has been the driving force providing an ideal platform at the lower price point for the consumer."

Acer took top spot in the UK in the fourth quarter, growing 32.2% year-on-year, while HP and Dell both fell 7.1%. Samsung closed the gap on Toshiba with an increase of 3.1% percentage points in market share year-on-year. Samsung’s performance was the result of strong demand in both its netbooks and competitively priced mainstream notebooks.

Apple makes top five in France

PC unit sales in France for the fourth quarter hit 3.3 million units – up 4.5% year-on-year. Annual shipments in 2009 were up 1.7% compared to 2008.

"The fourth quarter showed the strongest PC growth in France last year," said Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner, based in France. The mobile PC market accounted for 64% of total PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2009, with volumes increasing 8% year-on-year. Desktop PCs declined 1%t despite high demand on all-in-one models.

"In the fourth quarter of 2009, the consumer PC market remained buoyant with 15% growth year-on-year. This market was driven by strong mini-notebook demand and large number of vendors increased their mini-notebook shipments during the quarter," said Durand.

In the fourth quarter 2009, Acer moved totop spot in France with 24.7% market share and growth of 16% year-on-year. Its performance was the result of aggressive pricing on both low-end notebooks and netbooks. Apple made its debut among the top five PC vendors displacing Toshiba.

Decreased revenues hit German market

Germany recorded fourth quarter 2009 unit sales of 4.2 million units – up 9.9% year-on-year. The annual PC shipment figure climbed 4.2% compared to 2008 to hit 12.7 million

"Despite increasing PC volumes, the market in Germany continued to suffer from decreasing revenue streams," said Meike Escherich, principal analyst at Gartner. "End-user spending in 2009 declined 10% compared to last year. If this trend persists, this will lead to further consolidation in the PC market in Germany."

Acer took top spot in the fourth quarter of 2009 as a result of low priced mainstream notebooks and strong performance in the netbook segment. HP took second spot, after a 13% year-on-year decline in the fourth quarter of 2009. HP’s poor performance was due to weak demand in the mobile PC market, according to Gartner. Although it maintained its lead in the desktop segment, in the business market, HP’s growth was 8 percentage points behind the overall average market.

"This could change towards the second half of 2010, as large organisations return to invest, which should help HP regain market share," said Escherich."2010 could turn out to be the year for the PC industry. All-in-one desktops with touch screens, mini-notebooks, affordable ultra-thin and light notebooks, and the new tablet PCs, should help reinvigorate buyers’ interest in PCs."

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