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PC shipments stabilise in EMEA

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PC shipments in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) performed above expectations, reaching 17,9-million units and posting a 3,3% year on year decrease in 2016Q3, according to International Data Corporation (IDC).
Notebook shipments increased by 0,7%, supported by interest in new thin and light solutions from Western European enterprises and by political stabilisation in the Middle East and Africa.
Also in this quarter, EMEA continued to be affected by uncertainties, such as exchange rate fluctuations, currency weaknesses, and political instabilities including Brexit talks.
Despite these challenges, commercial notebook shipments remained strong, growing 5,6% in EMEA compared with 2015Q3.
Contrarily, consumer notebooks decreased 2,6% in the region. The planned increase of panel prices for notebooks before the end of 2016 drove notebook orders up earlier for year-end business. This resulted in some cases in shortages.
Overall, the large shipment volumes are expected to contribute to a buildup in stock. Inventories will be monitored in the coming months.
The Windows 10 anniversary edition did not seem to have a significant impact on renewals. Chrome, despite being marginal, is performing well for the second quarter in a row. The back-to-school season together with the upcoming Black Friday in late November and Christmas holidays contributed to shipment uplift and stock intakes rose, but desktops in EMEA continued to contract by 10,6%. This confirmed the continuous erosion in profit for more mobile solutions.
The bankruptcy of Hanjin, a South Korean shipping company, had an impact on shipments from some PC vendors. However, Western Europe seems to be only marginally affected.
“The PC market continued to be differentiated in EMEA, with only one common trend: a decline in desktops,” says Andrea Minonne, research analyst of IDC EMEA Personal Computing. “Although desktops registered again negative results and demand was low across EMEA, notebooks performed differently across all subregions. Once again, the Western European commercial market performed positively in 2016Q3, thanks to increasing adoption of notebooks in response to enterprise mobility needs.”
Notebooks performed well in both Western Europe and the Middle East and Africa, increasing respectively by 1% and 14,5%, but registered a 10,2% decline in Central and Eastern Europe.
In Western Europe, the consumer market continued to be a challenging segment. Many factors related to price increases and market uncertainty are leading price-sensitive consumers to extend the lifespan of their devices. But preferences are evolving towards thin and light solutions, especially for back-to-school, Black Friday, or the Christmas holidays.
In 2016Q3 the PC landscape continued to be varied and highly fragmented in Western Europe. The aftershocks of the Brexit vote were more tangible in 2016Q3, with the pound weakening and with some PC vendors announcing price increases.
UK and Ireland faced challenges, especially in the commercial segment. Overall, Sweden and Italy posted higher YoY PC growth, which was supported by the strong performance of commercial notebooks. The other Mediterranean countries (Greece, Portugal, and Spain) performed below market average and continued to be challenged by slow market rebound. In particular, political instabilities are affecting Spain, where a fully empowered government has not been formed for a few quarters.
Contrarily, the Nordics continued to post growth and performed strongly in the commercial segment. Germany did not show dramatic changes compared with last year and remained overall flattish.
“While anticipation of hikes in panel prices drove vendors to stock up large PC volumes, a usual large back-to-school volumes contributed to strong seasonality in the commercial space,” says Malini Paul, senior research analyst at IDC EMEA Personal Computing. “The Nordics and DACH regions posted solid growth in commercial PC (respectively 20,2% and 4,6%) as well as France (5,7% YoY growth). Southern Europe was relatively weaker, with Italy being the only exception, recording stronger results (3,1% YoY growth).”
The PC market in Central and Eastern Europe reported worse results than expected overall, posting a double-digit decline, contrary to the forecast single-digit decrease.
“The Central European market suffered the most: Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Slovenia all reported a double-digit declines compared with 2015Q3,” says Nikolina Jurisic, product manager at IDC CEMA. “In 2015, during the crisis in Russia and the CIS, vendors focused their market strategies towards the Central European markets and pushed large volumes into the channels across the countries.
“However, what is becoming clear is that the inventory and stock situation in some of these countries is affecting sales-in, as demand remained low. In contrast, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine performed reasonably well. Russia, in line with the forecast, remained negative at -7.0% YoY.”
The PC market in the Middle East and Africa was quite different from Central and Eastern Europe, performing slightly better and reporting a flat market with a slight growth.
“The winner of the region was Turkey, with an annual increase of 30,3% YoY,” says Stefania Lorenz, associate vice-president: CEMA at IDC. “The PC market is finally regaining momentum in the country after the very negative results recorded in the five quarters between 2015Q1 and 2016Q1.
“The PC market showed improvement thanks to the political stabilisation which was in question immediately after the attempted coup. Financial factors such as cash-flow management were a serious problem for retailers in the previous months, but it has also improved thanks to a more stable currency against the US dollar, and consumers have reached into their wallets.”
Market consolidation is ongoing, with the top five players increasing overall market share from 71,4% to 76,8% versus 2015Q3. The major three players accounted for 57% of the total market volume versus 53,6% last year, outlining marketing consolidation.
HP Inc outperformed the market and reinforced its position in EMEA with a 26% market share. Innovation is HP’s core strategy, which remained powerful and once again gained in the commercial notebook and consumer desktop segment, thanks to the raise of gaming for the latest.
Lenovo consolidated its second place with a 20,1% market share, almost flat compared with last year. The vendor continued to lead in the consumer space, supported by new product launches as announced at IFA in Berlin.
Dell ranked third and increased its share to 10,9% vs 2015Q3, driven especially by a positive double-digit performance in the commercial notebook segment. Consumer notebook performance was particularly strong in the UK.
ASUS climbed to fourth place and posted a market share increase in the consumer notebook market, as well as a very positive performance in both the Norwegian and Italian markets.
Acer ranked fifth. The vendor remained challenged in some geographies, but performed positively throughout the Nordics. The launch of new products contributed to its momentum in some market areas.
Below the top five, Apple kept its sixthplace ahead of potential product refreshes. Fujitsu ranked seventh thanks to good results in Germany, and MSI ranked eighth supported by very strong notebook shipments. Wortmann and CMS Computers closed the top 10 ranking in ninth and 10th positions respectively.