Tablets dampen PC sales in EMEA

PC sales

The PC market across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) has seen little growth over the last three months thanks to the rise of tablets and the continued nervous attitude of businesses towards investment.

This was the finding of IDC's latest PC market tracker, which showed in the fourth quarter of 2010 shipments grew at just 2.4 per cent almost half the predicted 4.3 per cent growth across the region.

In Western Europe specifically, shipment levels actually took a hit, dropping by seven per cent year on year. However, there was an overall decline in the fourth quarter of 10.5 per cent thanks to the high demand for tablets over the Christmas period instead of PCs.

It was netbook sales that were the most affected though, with sales figures dropping a significant 29 per cent and desktop PC sales fell by 19 per cent. Although laptops levels remained the same, there had been hope for growth in the area and the flat figures offered little comfort to vendors.

Eszter Morvay, research manager of IDC's EMEA PC group, said: "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."

But Karine Paoli, associate vice president of IDC's EMEA systems infrastructure solutions, said: "In the short-term, those devices will disrupt somewhat the traditional PC market space, but with no cannibalisation expected with notebooks or ultra portables, which will remain the needed platforms for full computing for both consumer and business users."

"New media tablet devices constitute in the long-term a major opportunity for expansion for all vendors in the industry, [especially] those in particular that manage to establish themselves successfully in this new product segment and balance an extended device portfolio effectively."

When the report looked specifically at corporate sales, it claimed the business world had survived slightly better than the consumer, but it still published figures claiming there had been a three per cent drop in shipments in the UK.

HP remained the leader of the pack across EMEA and outgrew the overall market average by 8.1 per cent. Samsung showed the strongest growth, however, and broke into the top five vendors for the first time.

Although the fourth quarter did see some tumbling of shipments, the overall picture was much rosier. A strong six months kicking off 2010 led to year-on-year growth of 12.8 per cent, amounting to more than 110 million PCs being shipped over the whole year.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.