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PC sales drop in Europe as consumers lose interest

Mobile devices move in

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European consumers are rapidly losing interest in PCs according to new figures from IDC which show heavy sales falls during 2011.

The numbers suggest that the death of the PC (including on operating systems other than Windows) has not after all been greatly exaggerated.

During 2011, EMEA sales were 103 million, a 7 percent fall compared to the previous year, with Europe showing a drop of 11.2 percent, the fifth quarterly decline in a row.

The falls are manifesting across both business and consumer sectors but it is consumers who appear to be abandoning the PC the fastest, with demand down 16.1 percent on the quarter.

IDC dismisses the possibility that hard disk shortages caused by the Thai floods hit demand, pointing out that PCs due to be sold in the pre-Christmas period would have been shipped out before this affected inventory or prices.

If supply is not at issue what might have affected demand?

IDC blames a mixture of economic uncertainty and the arrival of new types of devices such as tablets and smartphones which continues to enjoy rising sales numbers.

Some vendors are being affected by the waning of the PC more than others with Taiwan’s Acer staring at a 24.4 percent sales drop in Q4 2011. HP and independent box vendors were also down leaving Asus and Lenovo (which bought German’s Medion) to show large gains of 14.7 and 35.5 percent respectively. Not everyone is suffering.

"Fearing weak consumer sales at Christmas and slowing commercial demand, retailers and distributors across the region remained cautious when taking new orders in order to avoid an inventory build-up similar to last year,” said IDC’s research manager for personal computing, Eszter Morvay.

IDC’s recent figures for the US confirmed some of the worst sales figures in a decade, showing year-on-year drops in Q4 of 6.7 percent. The poor 2011 figures come after sales held up well across the world in 2010.


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