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Shocker: Clearing 2015's vast PC backlog was 'costly' for vendors

Sales to retailers and disties shrank 18% in EMEA

Stuffing European retailers and distributors’ shelves with PCs proved to be a pricey gamble that didn’t pay off for major suppliers: it took eleven months of last year and hefty price cuts to clear.

Some 76.3 million computers were shipped into EMEA channels in 2015, down 18.2 per cent year-on-year, according to numbers from IDC.

One of the reasons for the stock pile-up was that vendors got carried away with sales forecasts amid the mad dash from customers to replace Windows XP machines after Microsoft shuttered its support.

Run away sales of cheaper devices, particularly Windows with Bing lappies, also create a false sense that historic demand patterns could be sustained.

But when it materialised that PC sales to customers were slumping, vendors didn’t turn off the supply taps quickly enough – and so stocks started to build across the region.

“2015 turned into a very costly year for all of them [PC vendors] as inventory clearing not only took eleven months but also strong promotions and price reductions,” said IDC.

All vendors took corrective action to reduce stockpiles but Lenovo – which is running fast to build a 30 per cent share of all PC sales globally – was forced to make the most significant write-downs.

No channel partners or distributors were hurt in this process, as vendors always price protect stock. This is standard stuff; if they didn’t do this, no third party would buy their kit.

Not one of the top five vendors reported growth in shipments to distributors and retailers, to which IDC’s numbers pertain. All declined by double digits.

HP declined 13.3 per cent and accounted for 23.5 per cent of all sales-in, Lenovo dropped 10.6 per cent and had share of 19.9 per cent, Dell, ASUS and Acer sales fell 11.6 per cent, 12.4 per cent and 31.3 per cent respectively.

IDC said the consumer market was flat last year, if Windows with Bing sales were removed from the figures, and took this as a sign of stabilisation. ®


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