EMEA PC market circling rim, headed for U-bend plunge

No, people: Not Intel, not even Windows 10 can save PC shipments this year

The EMEA PC market - more precisely shipments into distributors and retailers - is shrinking again due to political upheaval in the region, the currency meltdown and the end of the XP factor.

According to beanshufflers at IDC, 20.2 million boxes were flung into sales channels during the first three months of 2015, equating to a year-on-year decline of 7.7 per cent.

Shipments in western Europe fell two per cent, they were down 23 per cent in central and eastern Europe, and ten per cent lower in the Middle East & Africa.

Portable PC shipments dropped 3.6 per cent year-on-year and desktops were down 14 per cent in Q1, IDC said.

Improving macroeconomic indicators in Europe were “dampened” by the strength of the dollar which “led to various price increases in local currencies”, the market watcher claimed.

As we revealed some months back, major PC vendors upped the UK list price in response to a 15 per cent spike in the value of the US dollar vs the Brit Pound since last summer - more rises are coming.

The currency and price-rise issues were felt most acutely in the corporate enterprise segment in Western Europe, where commercial PC shipments fell 9.5 per cent, including a 17.2 per cent drop in desktops.

The UK and Germany reported double digit declines, but France was flat and southern Europe posted hefty rises, albeit against a weaker comparison period in 2014.

IDC noted that the relative revival in PC sales last year, caused initially by Microsoft shuttering support for Windows XP and a wider refresh in the business markets, will not be replicated in 2015.

“The first quarter of 2015 was a transition period after strong renewals in 2014,” said Chrystelle Labesque, associate director for EMEA PC research at IDC.

“While there are some expectations around the new CPU platform and operating systems to revive the market in coming quarters, the strong dollar will negatively impact IT budgets as product prices in local currencies have and will increase further.”

[Does that mean a certain Windows 10 will not drive shipments of computers? By thunder, I think it does … it can’t be any worse than Windows 8. -Channel ed]

Retailers, boosted by the appeal of "Windows with Bing" machines, continued to buy in more stock - consumer PC shipments were up 8.4 per cent in Western Europe.

But currency exchange rates and the closure of the Windows with Bing programme to 15 inch devices will likely clip consumer growth this year.

“Consumers and IT managers will have to decide if they postpone purchases or make compromises on their choice or amend their budgets,” said Labesque. ®

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