PC shipments in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) performed above expectations, reaching 16,1-million units in the second quarter of 2016 — a 4,7% year on year (YoY) decrease, according to International Data Corporation (IDC).
Looking at regions, Western Europe stabilized at -0,8%, while Central and Eastern Europe and Middle East and Africa remained constrained respectively at -8,5% and -13,3%.
Notebooks in EMEA posted good performance, stabilizing at -1,7%. For the first time, the YoY comparison was not impacted by Bing shipments. In fact, notebook shipments in Western Europe went up by 4,1%, driven by the commercial segment that registered a 10,5% increase. This brought the growth of EMEA commercial notebooks into positive territory with a 3.,7% YoY growth. In contrast, the consumer notebook market continued to decline. Desktop PCs posted a 10% decline overall, in line with forecasts, in EMEA.
The EMEA region remained hit by volatile exchange rates, oil price fluctuations, and macroeconomic and political developments, all of which created a difficult market, especially in Western Europe and the Middle East. Windows 10 is accelerating but is failing to drive large renewals, while new designs based on Skylake were generating strong interest and supported new form factor penetration.
“In EMEA, notebook continued to outperform desktop with improvements mainly in the commercial segment,” says Andrea Minonne, research analyst at IDC EMEA Personal Computing. “Multiple factors drove this growth. In the Nordics, back to school was one key contributors to shipments.
“Renewals and continued expansion over desktop in some sectors and countries also led to an increase. New product designs based on Skylake and Windows 10 generated large interest among business users seeking enhanced mobility features and supported new form factor penetration from a low base.”
In Western Europe, Brexit may bring some additional challenges to the PC market. No evidence of market contraction can be attributed directly to the referendum outcome yet. But some PC manufacturers might review their plans for next year due to uncertainty.
Many vendors also said they might revise their price strategy just after the quarter’s closing. This will affect consumer behaviour as many users may opt to stretch the life span of their devices rather than sustaining a price increase to purchase new ones.
In enterprises, IT budgets and plans could be reviewed as businesses will be more cautious. Compromises are likely to be made as all price increases cannot be absorbed. Currency fluctuations in the UK and beyond are under the spotlight, affecting channel stock intake.
On one hand, some vendors have looked to optimize their channel position ahead of price increases, pushing more shipments in June. On the other hand, cleaning inventories remains a key focus in some countries: stocks are not at an ideal level but the overall situation is not as bad as last year.
Trends are different not only at a global level, but also within regions. In particular, Western Europe appears very fragmented: the UKI and Mediterranean regions contracted in the second quarter, while the DACH and Nordic regions were positive. The back-to-school season helped limit the PC market decline, boosting shipments in 2016Q2.
“The Western European market fared better than expected,” says Malini Paul, senior research analyst at IDC EMEA Personal Computing. “As anticipated, the commercial segment continued to drive the overall market. After several quarters of decline and a stabilization last quarter, 2016Q2 marked the return of commercial notebooks to positive double-digit growth.
“In the absence of Bing comparisons, the consumer segment returned to almost normal market conditions. However, inventory levels in some channels remained high. This could have an adverse impact on shipments in the next couple of quarters if products are not moving as fast as expected.”
The PC market in CEMA remains constrained by a lack of public spending, weak currency, political uncertainty, and economic slowdown. The PC market in CEE declined 8,5% YoY, in line with forecasts. The PC market in MEA performed slightly lower than forecast at -13,3% YoY.
“The CEE PC market continues to struggle, with the commercial space suffering the strongest decline at -10.5% YoY, with the lack of public sector spending in some countries as well as weak corporate deals all affecting the overall commercial space,” says Nikolina Jurisic, product manager at IDC CEMA. “The consumer space was supported by gaming computers even if volumes are still limited, and the desktop consumer space was flat compared with notebooks, dropping in the high single digits.
“The MEA PC market continues to suffer, however, and some of the key markets, namely Turkey and Egypt, experienced some relief. The continuation of a large-scale PC project contributed toward the growth in Egypt. At the same time, some other key markets continued to decline sharply, with Nigeria and Saudi Arabia halving shipments YoY due to currency issues as well as low oil prices.”
In a very diversified market, there is ongoing consolidation and the top five vendors’ share continues to grow. The three major players account for 56.5% of the total market volume, compared with 55,1% in 2015Q2.
HP posted a strong performance, increasing its share to over 25% in EMEA. The vendor’s performance was boosted by particularly strong notebook results on the commercial side, driven by a successful, innovative product strategy.
Lenovo maintained its second place with 19,4% market share. Growth was slower, however, as it tackled a number of market challenges, especially in CEMA. Consumer notebooks and commercial desktops gained share from competitors, despite contracting from last year.
Dell recorded a slower quarter as it faced strong competition, especially in MEA. It benefited, however, from sustained commercial notebook growth in Western Europe.
ASUS was in fourth place, with notebooks contributing to its growth, especially on the consumer side thanks to the vendor’s strong and attractive line up.
Acer remained in fifth place, with its market share flat compared with last year. The vendor remained focused on inventory management to build up strong shipments ahead of the back-to-school season especially in Western Europe.
Outside the top five, Apple retained sixth place. Fujitsu and Toshiba were seventh and eighth respectively, with both registering double-digit shipment contractions but maintaining their focus on the B2B segment. MSI and Wortmann closed out the top 10, in ninth and 10th place respectively.