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Consumers (lack of) blamed for Western Europe PC sales slump

Where did they go?

Western Europe witnessed the first year-on-year decline in PC sales ever in Q2 this year. And sales for all of EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa) were flatter than a flat pancake.

PC sales for all of EMEA were 8.38 million in Q2, 0.1 per cent up on the same period last year. Business PC shipments accounted for 6.5 million units - 77 per cent of shipments - and home sale accounted for 1.9 million units in Q2.

Total sales in Q2 in Western Europe were 6.02 million units, 4 per cent down on Q2, 2000. Considering that Average Selling Prices (ASPs) and margins are also plunging - and that Q2,2000 was considered a weak quarter - it confirms that vendors are having a pretty torrid time of it in the region.

Vendors are suffering worst of all in Germany and the UK, the region's two biggest markets, which saw sales drops of 11.9 per cent and 7.3 per cent respectively. Is this worsening consumer confidence - or is it signs of saturation in relatively mature markets?

France, Europe's third biggest PC market, saw PC shipments rise 7.8 per cent, on the back of business sales and "large volume employee PC purchase schemes".

The professional segment accounted for 77 percent of the PC market in EMEA during the second quarter of 2001, with shipments of 6.5 million units. PC shipments to the home segment in the same quarter totaled 1.9 million units.

Gartner Dataquest, the compiler of the sales figures, blames the slump on consumers: there weren't any. Actually, consumer sales fell 15 per cent or so, with this "collapse of the home PC market in Western Europe" - Gartner's phrase not ours - masking a modest recovery in the business PC sector - up 5.7 per cent on the same period last year, the research firm says.

Compaq retains top slot in Europe, with 13.7 per cent of PC shipments in Q2. But it is losing market share - sales were 6 per cent down on the same period in Q2, last year when the vendor had 14.6 per of the market. But probably the biggest loser is Fujitsu Siemens which fell from third to fourth place from Q2 last year to Q2 this. Market share fell from 8.2 per cent to 7.3 per cent.

Steaming ahead is Dell, the region's number 2 vendor which gained market share (from 7.8 per cent in Q2, 2000 to 9 per cent in Q2 this year) and shipments - up 15.1 per cent.

The other big brand name winner was HP - shipments up 12.9 per cent and market share up from 6.5 per cent to 7.4 per cent, overtaking Fujitsu Siemens as Europe's third biggest PC vendor.

IBM, Europe's fifth biggest supplier, also did well with shipments up 6.9 per cent and market share edging up from 6.2 per cent to 6.6 per cent.

Others - national system builders and smaller international brand name players such as Toshiba and Gateway accounted for 56 per cent of all PC sales this year, around the same as Q2 last year. It shows that there is an awful lot of attrition to go before the big name PC players can truly be said to dominate the market. ®

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