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PC market still defies slowdown


PC shipments in Western Europe totalled 13,8-million units in the second
quarter of 2008, an increase of 22,9% compared with the same period in 2007.

"The PC market in Western Europe is growing strongly despite the prevailing
weakening economic climate. While the PC market is not immune from the
economic forces, sharp declines in average selling prices have certainly
fostered the growth. Steeper-than-expected price cuts could hit PC-makers'
profit margins and prolonged price pressure will force further consolidation
among vendors," says Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst at Gartner.
The PC market in Western Europe has not showed this level of growth since
1999 with sales in all the major countries such as the UK, Germany and
France increasing at more than 20% respectively. Sales in mobile PCs
bolstered the growth with an increase of 45% in the second quarter of 2008
and contributed to an overall growth of 23% in the same period.
PC shipments in the UK totalled 2,8-million units in the second quarter of
2008, an increase of 27,4% compared with the same period in 2007.
"The PC market in the UK performed strongly this quarter with both the
consumer and professional markets fuelling growth. This strong performance
can only be sustained if new users are being reached or existing users are
buying additional PCs or replacing their old ones more rapidly," says Atwal.
The market was driven by strong mobile PC sales that accounted for 64% of
the total PC shipments, with volumes increasing 60% in the second quarter of
2008. The desk-based PC market suffered again with an 8% decline
Dell and HP remained in the number one and two positions with a combined
market share of nearly 45%. Dell continued to expand its retail presence but
HP excelled by increasing its growth by nearly 100% in the consumer market.
This is the result of an expanded presence in its own retail channels.
Acer's growth suffered due to a combination of weakened demand for the
Packard Bell products and challenges with product transition as sales from
inventory slowed down.
Apple and ASUS, holding the fifth and sixth positions respectively, added a
new dimension to the consumer market.
"The PC market in the UK again performed above expectations as the consumer
market continued to boom. The introduction of the mini-notebook PC has
created some excitement, and we expect sales in this segment will help the
market sustain growth for the rest of the year," says Atwal.