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Brit PC market out of intensive care thanks to XP, falling prices

...But sales still down by 600,000 boxes on Q1 2010

The PC market is gradually on the mend after the bloodiest period in its history when businesses sweated their assets, consumers bought tabs and costly excess stock swilled around the channel.

Sales went up by mid-single digits in Q1 as UK shoppers in the commercial sectors began to spend on traditional systems again, said analysts reporting sales data.

IDC reckons shipments swelled 8.6 per cent year-on-year to 2.5 million PCs and Canalys told us sales were up 5.5 per cent to 2.61 million boxes.

Marta Fiorentini, IDC senior European research analyst, told us that it was the first expansion of the local market since Q2 2012, which she ascribed to a "mix of factors", not just the end of support for XP.

"Shipments were boosted by high volumes of renewals of devices still running on Windows XP across businesses of various sizes, both in the public and private sector," she told The Channel.

Commercial PC shipments were up 20.4 per cent in total, with desktops up 22.1 per cent and portables up 18.6 per cent, signalling a return of business confidence as firms swapped out ageing fleets.

Consumer sales are still not out of the woods, as shipments fell 3.8 per cent, but this is way better than "after five quarters of uninterrupted double digit year-on-year drops", said Fiorentini.

Retail desktops grew 2.2 per cent and notebooks fell three per cent – again a slowing of the "rapid decline" seen last year and in the prior periods.

A look at Canalys figures shows that 901k consumer notebooks shipped in Q1, up 18 per cent, as retailers sucked up 285k consumer desktops, a rise of 21 per cent.

In the enterprise, notebooks sales to distributors declined 12 per cent to 776k but commercial desktop sales were up nine per cent to 665k.

Senior analyst Tim Shepherd said the XP affect was also playing out in the consumer market, saying Chromebooks were on the up and declining PC prices were luring some to open their wallet.

But he cautioned any market growth was relative to the steep declines in recent times, and the UK is still significantly down on the 3.2 million PCs sold in Q1 2010. ®

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