New IDC research shows that overall PC shipments in EMEA decreased by 22,2% in Q2 2013 compared to the same period last year.

EMEA PC shipments reached 19,6-million units in the second quarter of 2013, with portable PC shipments at 12,4-million, declining by 26%, and desktops at 7,2-million, down 14,6%.

“The second quarter continued to be impacted by large inventory in several countries. April and May were weak as expected as most vendors, retailers, and distributors focused on stock reduction, and while June was supported by starting replenishment ahead of the back to school and product transitions, the volume of new orders remained constrained as caution prevailed in particular in retail,” says Chrystelle Labesque, research manager, EMEA Personal Computing. “The PC market is going through a major transition with evolving form factors and a larger product portfolio, but the expansion of the overall client device market continues to drive increasing consumer spending and will also support key opportunities for the industry in the commercial space.”

In Western Europe, PC shipments declined as expected by 21,2% year on year. Performance across most countries was in line with anticipations, impacted by consumer softness and the inventory situation at the beginning of the quarter. The UK continued to hold better at -14%, while Germany decelerated -18,7%, impacted by the slowdown in consumer demand, and retail caution, while France remained the softest at -20,9%. Southern Europe remained the most affected by difficult economic conditions, with Spain for instance down -43,7%, while the Nordics slowed, also impacted by the market transition. After continuous deterioration quarter over quarter, desktops seemed to have reached a softer landing phase, decreasing -13,4%, proportionally less than notebooks, which continue to be impacted year on year by the decline in mini-notebook volumes in 2Q12.

“The evolution of form factors and the change in perception of mobile computing to ‘always on and always connected’ devices, development of social networks and Internet infrastructure, are all changing consumer behavior impacting the way PCs are utilized,” says Maciej Gornicki, senior research analyst, IDC EMEA Personal Computing. “While Windows-based hybrid devices, convertible or ultraslim notebooks with touch capabilities generate a clear interest, sales remain weak. Price remains one of the main inhibitors, and adoption in the commercial space is also slow for cost reasons and due to longer decision-making processes. With more attractive pricing anticipated for the end of year holiday season, however, IDC expects stronger uptake in the Ultraslim Notebook category in 4Q and into 2014.”

“For the second consecutive quarter in 2013, PC markets in both Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Middle East and Africa (MEA) have posted annual shipment declines of 27% and 18%, respectively,” says Stefania Lorenz, associate VP, IDC CEMA Systems. “This contraction was even greater than IDC had forecast earlier. The MEA region was affected by continual political instability and economic uncertainty, which influenced PC purchase decisions in both the public and private sectors. Consumer spending also contracted across the region, particularly in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and the UAE. Exchange rate depreciation and large held-over inventory in the channels limiting retail shipments, as well as new labor laws in KSA, all negatively affected PC demand. On the other hand, demand for tablets is expected to continue to grow in both regions. In fact, increased interest in tablets was one key inhibitor to PC market growth in CEE and MEA in the first half of 2103, along with high back-stock levels from the previous quarters.”

The PC market remains challenging, with continued traction on tablets and new devices while new form factors have yet to create the awaited stimulus to drive demand for renewals despite the better user experience they offer. The transition to Windows 8 and touch-enabled devices remained slow, and the high cost of those platforms continue to inhibit more robust growth. New CPU platform launches such as Haswell and Temash/Kabini did not create any measurable impact for lighter notebooks and the price point evolution did not sustain greater adoption either. In the commercial space, investments remained very cautious and renewals occurred on only a case by case basis, directly impacting results that were overall mixed by country, segment, and vendor.

The PC ecosystem is in transition and the new value proposition does not yet appear compelling enough to fuel new purchases or refresh cycles. As consumers own multiple devices and enterprises maximise their investments, PC lifecycles are elongating. While the new Windows 8.1 release will allow a smooth update for Windows 8 devices, it isn’t expected to drive a major boost in the second half. The end of Windows XP support should, however, generate some positive impulses in the commercial space. This renewal cycle should sustain volumes in the second half of 2013 in the commercial area.