In news that should come as a surprise to no-one, the Christmas season wasn't too jolly for European PC retailers.
According to IDC, PC shipments across the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region managed to grow by 2.4 per cent, although this was weaker than predicted 4.3 per cent expansion in the fourth quarter.
However, Western Europe continued to struggle as sales dropped by 7.7 per cent year-on-year. The combination of weak consumer demand, the tail end of the recession and the rabid customer interest in tablets are said to have fueled the drop. This was especially apparent in the consumer - as opposed to business - sector, where PC sales dipped by 10.5 per cent.
Unsurprisingly, netbook sales were hit the hardest, shrinking by 29 per cent, whereas the market for mainstream laptops managed to hold fairly steady. Traditional desktop also continued to fall out of favour as sales dropped by 19 per cent, and growth in the sales of all-in-ones cooled to only 1.8 per cent.
On the corporate side, the post-recession recovery continued, although the struggling SMB segment meant that overall business sales dropped by 1.1 per cent. Companies in the UK had a particularly tough time and spent 3 per cent less on PCs than in the previous year.
According to IDC research manager Eszter Morvay, "the robust popularity of media tablets led to further deceleration in mini notebook volumes as well as mainstream notebook demand due to constrained disposable income. The lacklustre interest in notebook renewals continued to fuel inventory build-up, despite slower sell-in in preparation for Sandy Bridge".