PC shipments in Western Europe totalled 13,3-million units in the second quarter of 2009, a 3,3% decline from the same period in 2008, according to Gartner.

"The Western European PC market saw a diverging trend," says Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst at Gartner. On one side, the market saw a 21% decline in the professional market and on the other it recorded a 21% growth in the consumer market. The strength of the mini-notebook market, which now constitutes more than a quarter of all consumer shipments, gave the market some momentum.
"You have to view the market with and without mini-notebooks to understand the true picture," he adds. "Without mini-notebooks, the market would have declined more than 15%, but given the new routes to market and price points of these PCs, they have managed to prevent a more severe decline."
All three major markets the UK, France and Germany saw negative growth and the decline is set to continue for the rest of 2009. Although the UK was the weakest, France and Germany were on the same trajectory with demand in professional and consumer markets expected to weaken.
In the second quarter of 2009, Acer achieved growth through the increase in shipments of mini-notebooks, selling nearly 50% of all mini-notebooks shipped. On the other hand, Dell suffered as sales collapsed in the professional market.
The PC market in the UK had another weak quarter as PC shipments totalled 2,6-million units in the second quarter of 2009, a decline of 6,5% decline compared with the same period in 2008.
"The difference this quarter was that both the professional and consumer markets were weak in the second quarter of 2009," says Atwal. The professional market declined more than 25% year-on-year and the consumer market was flat despite the influx of mini-notebooks into the market.
"This quarter was highlighted by the level of decline across both deskbased and mobile PC platforms, with a quarter of the market disappearing," he adds.
In previous quarters, the vendors were relying on the consumer market for some upside but the second quarter failed to provide many opportunities. Any increase in mini-notebook shipments were offset by a decline in mainstream notebooks. In the consumer market, mini-notebooks accounted for just under one-third of the total UK PC market.
"The emerging Telco retail channel is absorbing some of the increase as they get creative with the packaging of multiple devices to consumers," says Atwal.
HP suffered the most falling out of the top two vendors in the UK. Acer gained the number two position and Dell maintained the top spot. HP saw disappointing performances in both the professional and consumer markets, as focus on internal changes enabled its competitors to take advantage.
Atwal concludes: "There is much discussion on where the market is headed and at the moment there is only one direction and that is down. Even with the onset of 'back to school promotions', new products and Windows 7 to become available in the fourth quarter, the market will not recover until 2010."