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Euro notebook sales slowdown signals end of boom

Desktops back on buyers' wish lists?

Notebook sales in Europe's seven biggest economies are slowing, figures from market watcher Context reveal.

Each month this year saw successively lower growth over the same month in 2003. So while February 2004's sales to end users made by resellers were up 42.2 per cent on February 2003's figure, by May this year, the year-on-year growth rate had fallen to 17.5 per cent.

According to Context, the figures for March and April were 30 per cent and 20.3 per cent respectively. January 2004 saw sales up 37.3 per cent on the same period last year.

The company said that preliminary data suggested than June 2004's channel notebook sales to end users will be only 9.9 per cent up on June 2003's sales. The figures don't include Dell and other direct suppliers.

Context's numbers suggest that the massive boom in notebook sales seen over the last year or so is coming to an end. March 2003 saw the launch of Intel's heavily promoted Centrino mobile platform. If the chip giant's monster advertising campaign is, as many observers believe, a major contributor to notebook sales, it would seem that the company's decision to delay the launch of the second generation of the platform to early 2005 may come too late.

Originally scheduled for an autumn 2004 release 'Centrino 2' could have provided a shot in the arm for the notebook market, if Context's figures are to be taken at face value.

However, it's worth bearing in mind that price-cutting has seen something of a resurgence in the European desktop market during Q2, in both consumer and corporate sectors. Prices are falling in the notebook sector, too, but according to Context the rate of decline is slowing.

Market watcher IDC this week also noted that notebook year-on-year growth slowed between Q1 and Q2. ®

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Europe boosts global PC sales in Q2
Intel 'delays' Centrino 2 chipset to Q1 2005
AMD loses Euro mobile market share to Celeron
Notebook sales keep Apple steady
Big names dominated UK channel in May

Q2 European Notebook Market Share
Rank Vendor Q2 2004
Q2 2003
1 HP 20.5% 24.0%
2 Acer 20.9% 17.4%
3 Toshiba 15.9% 16.1%
4 Fujitsu-Siemens 7.1% 5.2%
5 IBM 6.3% 5.4%
6 Sony 4.4% 4.3%
7 Packard-Bell 2.9% 1.0%
8 Apple 2.3% 2.0%

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