Business PC sales fall by a fifth

chart down

PC sales are continuing to slide, with the professional market diving 21 per cent - hitting industry giants like Dell and HP quite hard.

According to Gartner, PC shipments slid 3.3 per cent to 13.3 million across Western Europe, with consumer sales balancing out some of the trouble in the business market.

The only thing keeping the consumer market afloat is netbooks, or as the analyst firm calls them, "mini-notebooks." The cheap and cheerful devices now make up a quarter of all consumer computers sold, Gartner said.

"You have to view the market with and without mini-notebooks to understand the true picture," Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst at Gartner, said in a statement.

"Without mini-notebooks, the market would have declined more than 15 per cent, but given the new routes to market and price points of these PCs, they have managed to prevent a more severe decline," he added.

Acer came out the winner with the netbook trend, selling nearly 50 per cent of the devices across Western Europe, boosting it to the top spot in the market with a 24 per cent share.

HP and Dell were hit by the fall in the professional market, with the latter's sales by unit falling 20 per cent year on year. In the UK, HP fared so poorly it lost its second place position to Acer.

UK market struggling

The UK was the weakest of the major markets, falling behind Germany and France, with trouble in both the consumer and business markets causing a 6.5 per cent decline since last year.

"The difference this quarter was that both the professional and consumer markets were weak in the second quarter of 2009," said Atwal. "This quarter was highlighted by the level of decline across both desk-based and mobile PC platforms, with a quarter of the market disappearing."

In the UK, the professional market slid 25 per cent, while the consumer market was flat, as gains in netbooks were balanced by losses by standard notebooks.

"There is much discussion on where the market is headed and at the moment there is only one direction and that is down," Atwal added.

"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."