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PC growth in Europe slows as demand for netbooks wanes

by Sarah Griffiths on 25 October 2010, 14:11

Tags: IDC

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PC shipments across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) have grown in the back-to-school season but demand for netbooks was softer than expected in Western Europe.

According to figures from IDC, EMEA PC shipments grew by 10.5 percent year on year in Q3, reaching a total of 27.8 million PCs during the quarter. While growth across Western Europe was softer than expected, demand in Central  and Eastern Europe (CEE) outpaced expectations to drive growth.

After robust growth in the first half of 2010, growth in Western Europe slowed to single-digits, with shipment levels recording a flat 0.5% growth year on year, primarily caused by weak demand for mini netbooks as desirable tablets shifted interest away from notebooks.

Eszter Morvay, research manager, IDC EMEA PC Tracker, said: "Mini notebooks had started to slow down in 1H10, but increasing noise and announcements around Media Tablets have contributed to accelerating the trend, and also impacted notebook renewal intentions from a share of wallet standpoint. Some users already purchased an iPad, and many others adopted a wait and see position as more products develop towards Christmas".

However, the IDC said the market benefitted from people buying new laptops during the back-to-school season at a rate of 10.1 percent. It found that while sales were stimulated by aggressive promotions in the first half of 2010, fewer offers and higher price points in Q3 led to a ‘softer demand stimulation'.

Businesses renewing their PC stock also contributed to support growth, but the bulk of renewals are expected for 2011, with many smaller businesses thought to be holding off investment in their computer stock for when the economy picks up.

Growth in central Europe remains strong as the market posted ‘outstanding double-digit trends, exceeding expectations' in Q3, said the IDC. There was over 43 percent growth year on year in the region, while the Middle East posted 12.4 percent growth.

Stefania Lorenz, research director, IDC CEMA, said:"Purchase from the consumer space is the fastest growing sector, with no sign of slowing down, and there is clear evidence of recovery in the commercial space in both public and corporate segments. The four largest countries in the region (Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Czech Republic) all recorded strong results thanks to demand for notebooks, also pushed by low-end products."

"The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region reported a 12.4 percent increase year-on-year, which was very close to expectations. The three largest countries in the region (Turkey, UAE, and South Africa) all reported double-digit growth. Like the CEE region, MEA also witnessed a stronger rise in notebook sales thanks to demand from both businesses and consumers," she added.