EMEA PC market shrinks further in face of tablet threat

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The growing popularity of tablet devices is continuing to take its toll on the rest of the PC market, with shipments across EMEA down 20.2 per cent on last year.

IDC's EMEA-wide quarterly PC market tracker revealed that 21.8 million PC units were shifted in the first quarter of 2013.

Portable PCs accounted for 13.6 million of the devices shipped in Q1, while the remainder (8.3 million) were desktop PCs. Both product types chalked up double digit declines compared to last year.

The market watcher attributed much of this slump on the continued popularity of tablet devices, as well as the introduction of austerity measures across several vertical markets.

"Tablets and phones continued to capture customer attention and spending in the corporate space decelerated renewals and the lack or delay in IT investment directly impacted commercial results," said IDC in a statement.

"The public and education sectors across most countries also remained under pressure, announcing further cuts and austerity measures, adversely impacting PC demand."

However, Chrystelle Labesque, research manager for personal computing in EMEA at IDC, said there were some positives to be taken from the results.

"While the PC market continues to suffer from a shift to other devices, the current market expansion to a larger product portfolio and higher number of devices per person continues to support an increase in overall spending on total client devices, which grew by 15 per cent in 2012 and will remain at double-digits in 1Q13," she said.

The release of Windows 8 also failed to jumpstart PC sales during Q1, with IDC pinpointing to the high cost of the touch-based devices needed to get the most out of the new OS.

"The PC market is in a transition phase with a larger than ever choice in devices, form factors, and various operating system options," said Labesque.

"New notebook technologies such as touch or ultrabook generate a lot of interest and traction, but high price points prompt many consumers or businesses to hold onto their current system longer."

From a vendor perspective, Lenovo faired the best, emerging as the only PC manufacturer to report growth during Q1.

The vendor's shipments were up 11 per cent, helping the Chinese firm accrue market share across all sub-regions and cement its position as EMEA's number two PC maker.

HP held on to its market leading position, despite seeing a drop in share from 21.7 per cent in Q1 2012 to 18.5 per cent in Q1 2013.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.