UK PC sales plummet

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PC shipments in the UK dipped almost 20 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011, marking a fifth consecutive period of decline.

The period marked the worst fall in five quarters, as just 2.9 million units were shipped, Gartner figures showed.

"The UK market has been a prime illustration of the underlying weakness in PC demand across Western Europe," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

The analyst firm said economic factors as well as the rising popularity of smartphones and tablets were to blame for the massive dip in activity.

The introduction of Ultrabooks in late 2011 is desperately needed.

The business market was also hit by austerity measures in the education segment.

Apple was the only vendor that managed to achieve growth in the UK, yet was still only fourth in the rankings. Frontrunners HP and Dell saw notable slides, with -27 per cent and -32.2 per cent year-over-year growth respectively.

"PC vendors face a long, uphill struggle to regain the interest of consumers. The introduction of Ultrabooks in late 2011 is desperately needed," Atwal added.

In the whole of Western Europe, PC shipments dipped 16 per cent. The professional segment saw a decline of 13.5 per cent.

"Despite aggressive pricing and special holiday deals for PCs, consumers' attention was caught by other devices, such as smartphones, media tablets and e-readers," said Meike Escherich, principal analyst at Gartner.

"Even though we saw a drop in prices, consumer PC shipments could not match the levels of previous years.

"Uptake of professional PCs for migrations to Windows 7 remained subdued due to the troubled economic outlook."

Acer saw a significant dip in growth year-on-year, declining 46.1 per cent. Asus and Lenovo were the only two of the major vendors to post positive growth in Western Europe.

Earlier this month, Gartner said Western Europe IT spending would shrink by 0.7 per cent in 2012, due to the eurozone and hard-disk drive (HDD) shortage crises.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

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