Trends that characterised Western European PC distribution during 2018 are continuing in the first weeks of 2019, with good demand from commercial buyers offset by weaker consumer sales, according to the latest distribution data published by research group Context.

Volume sales of commercial PCs were up by 5% year-on-year in January following year-on-year growth in each quarter of 2018. Although desktop sales were down by a small 1%, there was positive performance across most commercial categories: desktop workstations increased by 3%, notebook volumes were up by 8 % and notebook workstations were up by 16%. As in 2018, ultra-slim notebooks, characteried by a z-height of less than 18 mm, were strong growth drivers in the portable segment with sales rising by 50%, to give these models a 22% share of the commercial notebook market.

On the other hand, sales of consumer PCs were weak with volumes falling by another 5% in January this year following quarterly year-on-year declines throughout 2018. Although the growth in some segments – including ultra-slim notebooks and Chromebooks – that was seen in 2018 continued, it was not strong enough to reverse the overall negative trend.

It is expected that commercial sales will remain the stronger in 2019 as Windows 10 refreshes continue and companies focus on improving security and implementing modern workplace solutions. However, while demand should stay healthy, the current Intel processor supply constraints are expected to have an impact on sell-through during the first half of 2019, although the extent of this will vary by country and vendor.