Retailers and distributors across much of Europe continue to be conservative buyers of consumer PCs, but Microsoft's looming end of support for Windows 7 helped keep orders ticking along for commercial PCs.
In July, distributor volumes grew 8 per cent year-on-year to almost 1.657 million boxes across nine European countries, including the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Finland and the Netherlands.
Split by category, 643,859 were consumer box sales, down 2 per cent, due to a 3 per cent drop in notebook shipments. Desktop, ultra-slim portables and Chromebooks were up but the volumes here were too small to help swing the overall dial upwards.
However, a flurry of activity in B2B dragged PC sales in those nine countries into growth as distributors bought 1.013 million computers, up 15 per cent on the same month a year earlier. Here, notebooks were up 11 per cent and desktop jumped 25 per cent.
"It is expected that commercial demand will remain strong throughout the second half of 2019 as Windows 10 continues," said Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at Context.
For the past 18 months, businesses have refreshed their fleet of PCs in preparation for Microsoft killing off extended support on 14 January 2020, providing a boon to this part of the industry.
The prognosis for the consumer sector is far more gloomy, according to Content. "While a range of promotional activities during the upcoming back-to-school and Black Friday periods are likely to lead to a temporary improvement in the consumer growth trend, overall demand is expected to remain soft," said Pygott.
In all, distributors in eight of the nine European countries reported growth in business computer sales in July – Poland was the exception. Only disties in Spain and Switzerland failed to expand business system shipments.
In the UK, total sales via the channel went up to 2.5 per cent to 377,764 units: commercial PCs reached 227,920, up 10.8 per cent and consumer was down 11 per cent to 125,167 units.
Context stats only include sales via the distribution. This does not include direct sales from the PC maker's own sales forces, nor does it include shipments sold directly from PC makers to retailers. ®