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Gartner Says Western Europe PC Market Showed Decline in Third Quarter 2009

Germany Experienced Best Performance of Three Major Markets

PC shipments in Western Europe totalled 16.7 million units in the third quarter of 2009, a slight decrease of 0.3 per cent compared with the same period in 2008, according to Gartner, Inc. (see Table 1). However, the third quarter showed a return to seasonal growth patterns with a sequential increase of 30 per cent.

“The Western European PC market saw varied results across Europe with two of the largest markets, Germany and France showing growth, and smaller markets like Spain and Northern Europe exhibiting a decline,” said Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst at Gartner, based in the UK.

However, the market dynamics were similar across most countries, with weak professional markets and more positive consumer markets. “What will vary going forward will be the speed at which the professional market will grow,” Mr Atwal said. “Some markets will see growth much faster than others creating bigger opportunities for vendors. The time-span of the decline varied across countries in the third quarter of 2009, with countries such as France that have only had one quarter of shipment decline before returning to growth, whereas the UK, Spain and Ireland have seen a prolonged negative performance in the market.”

Mini-notebooks were the driving force behind the sustained growth in the consumer market in the third quarter of 2009. The success of mini-notebooks continued to surprise many vendors that have only reluctantly joined the market with products, fearing further revenue declines per unit without sufficient profit margins. Vendors like Acer and Samsung have taken the greatest advantage of the mini-notebook boom, generating significant sales through the telco channels.

Table 1
Western EuropePC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q09 (Thousands of Units)

 

Company

3Q09 Shipments

3Q09 Market Share (%)

3Q08 Shipments

3Q08 Market Share (%)

3Q09-3Q08 Growth (%)

Acer

 4,725

28.3

3,895

23.3

21.3

HP

 3,585

21.5

3,549

21.2

1.0

Dell Inc.

 1,593

9.5

1,985

11.9

-19.7

ASUS

1,086

6.5

1,102

6.6

-1.4

Toshiba

960

5.8

928

5.5

3.5

Others

4,741

28.4

5,283

31.6

-10.3

Total

16,690

100.0

16,742

100.0

-0.3

Note: Data includes desk-based PCs and mobile PCs
Source: Gartner (November 2009)

“Samsung is growing significantly in the PC market with 138 per cent growth year-on-year. Its brand presence created by its mobile phone, televisions and other consumer electronics markets is certainly being leveraged by Samsung’s PC department,” said Ranjit Atwal.

In the third quarter of 2009, apart from Acer, the biggest winners, Apple and Samsung, were outside the top five. HP just managed to get ahead of the market average while Dell continued to suffer in the professional market. Toshiba managed to see growth in Western Europe but saw a weak performance in other regions.

Overall the vendors remain cautious as there is still uncertainty in the overall market conditions. Gartner expects the Western European PC market to exhibit growth in the fourth quarter and reach more-sustained growth in 2010.

UK: Decline slowed down

PC shipments in the UK totalled 3.3 million units in the third quarter of 2009, a decrease of 2.4 per cent compared with the same period in 2008 (see Table 2). The third quarter
showed a return to seasonal growth patterns with a sequential increase of 30 per cent.

“The decline in the PC market in the UK has slowed down and the return to growth will be slow and a difficult process,” said Mr Atwal. “While the consumer market continued to defy the economic environment, the business market was still very weak.”

Overall, the mobile PC market saw growth and was driven by a continued increase in consumer demand for mini-notebooks. “With consumer spending restricted, mini-notebooks are becoming more appealing as they provide better functionality at the lower price points,” added Mr Atwal. “Most of the PC vendors now offer mini-notebooks as they realise the importance of this category. Mini-notebooks represented more than 40 per cent of the total consumer notebook market in the third quarter of 2009.”

Table 2
United KingdomPC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q09 (Thousands of Units)

Company

3Q09 Shipments

3Q09 Market Share (%)

3Q08 Shipments

3Q08 Market Share (%)

3Q09-3Q08 Growth (%)

Acer

798

24.2

590

17.4

35.3

Dell Inc.

605

18.3

708

20.9

-14.6

HP

577

17.5

644

19.1

-10.4

Toshiba

214

6.5

289

8.6

-26.1

Apple Computer

165

5.0

130

3.8

26.6

Others

940

28.6

1021

30.2

-7.9

Total

3,299

100.0

3,382

100.0

-2.4

Note: Data includes desk-based PCs and mobile PCs
Source: Gartner (November 2009)

Most of the vendors are facing a difficult time. “Interestingly, two vendors at either end of the price spectrum are winning the battle. At one end, Acer continued to provide price-conscious products through multiple channels to attract a wider buying audience. At the other end, Apple leveraged the “halo” effect of the Apple brand created by the iPods and iPhones into the PC arena, dominating the mid to higher price brackets.” Acer gained the No. 1 position while Samsung is closing the gap on Apple in fifth place, with 4.8 per cent market share. Samsung also saw the highest performance of the quarter, with 206.6 per cent growth year-on-year.

The professional market continued to be weak and will remain so into the first half of 2010. The impact of Windows 7 will be delayed until later on in 2010 as organisations complete the testing and integration of Windows 7. As the professional market regenerates itself, vendors such as Dell and HP will have more opportunities to grow market share.

Mr Atwal concluded: “The PC market in the UK was weaker than both Germany and France, and it is not expected to become stronger than those countries in the near future.”

France: Mini-notebooks drove return to growth

PC shipments in France totalled 2.8 million units in the third quarter 2009, an increase of 1.9 per cent compared with the same period in 2008 (see Table 3).

“After a decline in the second quarter of 2009, the PC market in France returned to growth driven by strong purchases in the consumer market,” said Isabelle Durand, principal analyst at Gartner, based in France.

The mobile consumer PC market grew 18 per cent mainly as a result of increased shipment of mini-notebooks in the third quarter of 2009. Gartner estimates that 373,000 mini-notebooks were shipped in the third quarter of 2009 in France representing 20 per cent of total mobile PCs. “Without the strong sales of mini-notebooks, the overall PC market in France would have declined 3 per cent in the third quarter,” said Ms Durand.

In the third quarter of 2009, the professional market remained weak in both desktop and mobile PC segments with a 5 per cent decline, while the consumer market showed 7 per cent growth year-on-year.

The overall PC market in France was driven by strong mobile PC sales, which accounted for 67 per cent of total PC shipments. Volumes increased 15 per cent year-on-year.

Acer maintained its leadership and increased its share by 2.8 percentage points in the third quarter of 2009. “It continued to achieve strong results in the mobile PC market, and nearly every third mobile PC sold in France was an Acer,” said Ms Durand.

HP increased its market share as the No. 2 vendor as a result of its good performance in the consumer mobile PCs segment. On the other hand, Dell continued to suffer from the slowdown in enterprise demand and was the only vendor in the top five ranking to exhibit a decline with an 11.2 per cent decrease year-on-year.

“We expect the PC market in France to continue to show growth during the fourth quarter of 2009, and we forecast that the market in 2009 will see an increase of less than 2 per cent. The release of Windows 7 may help to bring in replacement demand from consumers, and the introduction of thin and light notebooks should also attract their attention,” concluded Ms Durand.

Table 3
FrancePC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q09 (Thousands of Units)

 

Company

3Q09 Shipments

3Q09 Market Share (%)

3Q08 Shipments

3Q08 Market Share (%)

3Q09-3Q08 Growth (%)

Acer

811

28.5

719

25.7

12.9

HP

750

26.3

682

24.4

9.9

Dell Inc.

267

9.4

301

10.8

-11.2

ASUS

225

7.9

192

6.9

17.2

Toshiba

162

5.7

161

5.8

0.4

Others

631

22.2

738

26.4

-14.6

Total

2,846

100.0

2,793

100.0

1.9

Note: Data includes desk-based PCs and mobile PCs
Source: Gartner (November 2009)

Germany: PC shipments saw return to growth

PC shipments in Germany totalled 3.3 million units in the third quarter of 2009, an increase of 3.7 per cent compared with the same period in 2008 (see Table 4). In addition, the third quarter experienced a 47 per cent increase sequentially, the first sequential increase since the fourth quarter of 2008.

“Germany achieved the best performance of the three major markets in Europe this quarter,” said Meike Escherich, principal analyst at Gartner, based in the UK. “However, despite indications of improved consumer confidence, buyers are extremely price sensitive and the volumes shifted further to the lower price points - even more so than in past quarters.”

In the third quarter of 2009, the PC market in Germany saw an increase of 12 per cent in sales of mobile PCs. Desktop demand declined 10 per cent year-on-year. The weakness in the professional segment slowed down with a decline of 3 per cent year-on-year.

The double-digit growth in the consumer sector (10 per cent), and especially the strong performance in the mini-notebook segment, was once again reflected in vendor performances. Sales of mini-notebooks accounted for one in four mobile PCs shipped in Germany during the quarter.

In the third quarter of 2009, Acer and ASUS saw growth as a result of continuous strong mini-notebook shipments. Together with Samsung they supplied more than 80 per cent of all mini-notebooks. HP maintained its No. 1 position in the desktop segment but lost its lead to Acer in the professional segment. Dell and Fujitsu lost further market shares respectively and Dell saw the worst decline this quarter, at 27.4 per cent year-on-year.

“The German economy is currently emerging from its deepest post-war recession, but the recovery will be restrained by the need to limit the deterioration of public finances,” said Ms Escherich. “We forecast another slowdown in PC demand during the first half of 2010 compared with the latter half of 2009 and a sustained recovery should only start in late 2010. In addition, while a new operating system release is not a growth driver as such, the Windows 7 release timing is nevertheless favourable as the end of the usual 12-month testing phase for organisations should coincide with renewed investments by the professional segment.”

Table 4
GermanyPC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 3Q09 (Thousands of Units)

 

Company

3Q09 Shipments

3Q09 Market Share (%)

3Q08 Shipments

3Q08 Market Share (%)

3Q09-3Q08 Growth (%)

Acer

891

26.7

634

19.7

40.5

HP

486

14.6

435

13.5

11.8

Fujitsu

272

8.1

339

10.5

-19.9

ASUS

257

7.7

206

6.4

25.1

Dell

230

6.9

317

9.8

-27.4

Others

1,205

36.0

1,292

40.1

-6.8

Total

3,341

100.0

3,223

100.0

3.7

Note: Data includes desk-based PCs and mobile PCs
Source: Gartner (November 2009)

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