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Samsung leaps out of volume PC game as UK market crashes

Sticks to smartphones, tabs, Chromebooks and high-end lappies

Samsung withdrew from the fight at the sharp end of Blighty's PC market last quarter, figures from Gartner indicate.

The Korean firm saw shipments plummet 85 per cent to 30,000 retail boxes, down from 215,000 in Q4 a year earlier. No business systems sales were reported, the analyst said.

The net impact is that Sammy's market share fell to one per cent from nearly seven per cent a year earlier.

Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst at Gartner, said the decline signalled a lack of appetite to slug it out in the price-driven volume end of the UK market, where consumer interest in low-cost notebooks has waned.

This is a correct assumption, said Graham Long, Samsung UK and Ireland veep for the enterprise business.

"The way we are positioning ourselves is that we'll be the number one player in the mobility market from smartphones to a complete range of tablets to Chromebooks and high-end laptops," he told us.

Sales into the wider UK distributor channel fell 6.7 per cent to 2.9 million units in Q4 as mobile shipments dropped ten per cent and desktops came in flat - helped out by the XP replacement cycle.

Consumer and biz demand fell 11.7 and 1.2 per cent respectively, Gartner stats revealed.

HP still accounts for more than one in four PC shipped to distributors, as sales declined slower (-4.7 per cent) than the market average. Lenovo sales were up 5.4 per cent to grab nearly 12 per cent of sales and the second spot, relegating Dell to third.

The Texan PC baron saw sales slip 6.1 per cent on the back of a collapse of 15 per cent in the business space, which more than offset a 15 per cent rise in consumer.

The surprise winner, in terms of growth, was Toshiba - which recently split with Euro PC veep Andy Bass - and Apple, reporting shipment hikes of 18.9 per cent and 26.7 per cent respectively.

Ailing Acer, which bounced up the vendor ranking on the back of cheaper laptops, fell out of the top five slot it has inhabited for more than six years, as sales shrank by 26 per cent and share sank to 9.1 per cent.

Founder Stan Shih has returned to the company to reinvigorate its fortunes following three years of losses, and the focus seems to be on higher value mobility kit too.

Atwal predicted XP refreshes will continue to fuel some demand for business PCs this year but expects retailers to buy stocks conservatively, "the volumes just aren't there anymore". ®

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