PC shipments in Europe, the Middle East, Africa in Q3 down 16% year-over-year to 21.4 million units; portable PC shipments down 20.6% to 13.3 million units, desktop PCs down 7% to 8 million units: IDC

LONDON , October 18, 2013 (press release) – According to the latest research from International Data Corporation (IDC), PC shipments in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) declined 16%, reaching 21.4 million units in the third quarter of 2013. Portable PC shipments equaled 13.3 million units, declining 20.6%, while desktop PC shipments hit 8 million units, down 7% compared with the same quarter a year ago. The market contracted less than in the previous quarter, supported by improving commercial demand, while macroeconomic and political factors affected subregions in different ways. The back-to-school period did not provide much support this year, except in the education sector, as cautious retail fulfillment in light of lukewarm consumer demand and a focus from vendors on tighter inventory led to consumer sales remaining constrained and impacting the total market.

"The third quarter marked a change in the overall market trend," said Chrystelle Labesque, research manager, EMEA Personal Computing. "While it is too early to talk about recovery, the worse seems to have been reached in the second quarter of 2013. However, the ramp-up is mainly in the commercial area, with September performance above expectations for most players. The end of Windows XP support in 2014 is driving IT departments to focus on hardware refresh, generating higher renewal in the corporate space."

In Western Europe, PC shipments declined 13.2% year over year, in line with forecasts. The third quarter suffered from an unfavorable year-over-year comparison, as PC shipments in 3Q12 were supported by the preparation of the Windows 8 launch, particularly in the consumer space. The disappearance of mini-notebooks also contributed to negative performance in the consumer portable PC space this quarter. Commercial desktops posted flat growth, which indicates that businesses are starting to invest more in hardware. Back-to-school deals in education further contributed to the less negative result, with the first education tenders on Chromebooks appearing in the region. The Nordics and the German-speaking countries performed better than the European average, while southern Europe remained more constrained. As the economic outlook in the eurozone improves, markets in countries such as Ireland and Greece, where PC shipments had seen significant contraction in the past, returned to modest growth this quarter. The consumer market remained constrained due to ongoing softness in demand, as households continue to opt for tablets or were turned away by high price points for touch-enabled notebooks and ultrabooks.

"Many new consumer products that were announced recently by PC vendors, including convertible notebooks and featuring latest Intel technology as well as updated Microsoft OS, are expected to hit the shelves in the fourth quarter of the year," said Maciej Gornicki, senior research analyst, IDC EMEA Personal Computing. "As a result, in order to avoid inventory buildup on outdated technology, shipments in 3Q remained modest. What is more, even if the choice of devices and operating systems is increasing considerably, most consumer purchasing decisions remain price driven. And as long as new form factors stay in the premium segment, their adoption will remain limited."

"The PC market once again performed poorly, as expected, in both the Central and Eastern Europe [CEE] and the Middle East and Africa [MEA] regions," said Stefania Lorenz, associate VP, IDC CEMA Systems. "In 3Q13 the PC market in the regions reported an annual shipment decline of 22.2% and 14.5% respectively. Both regions are negatively affected by the change in consumer spending, from traditional notebooks to tablets. In the CEE region, the portable PC market contracted 27.5%, as countries such as Czech Republic, the Baltic States, Ukraine, and Russia performed below expectations, given the economic recession as well as the unfavorable exchange rates in some of those countries. Inventory is no longer the major cause for market contraction, as most vendors have aligned their shipments [sales-in versus sales-out]. The portable PC market in the MEA region decreased 17.2% year on year as countries such as Saudi Arabia, OGCC, the Levant, and Turkey, as well as some countries in Africa, contracted further than expected. The economic slowdown in many countries, coupled with the political turmoil that seems to continue to fuel uncertainty in the Middle East region, in addition to unfavorable exchange rates in countries such as South Africa and Turkey, are all negatively affecting the PC market."

Vendor Highlights

HP consolidated its number 1 position in EMEA thanks to a solid performance in Western Europe and growth in MEA. HP benefitted from increased commercial demand in many countries, especially in desktops. Continued innovation and the ramp-up of the new consumer product portfolio also supported strong results in the consumer space. Effective strategy execution, a strong product line-up, and a focus on key areas further explained the market share gains.

Lenovo again outperformed the market with double-digit growth rates this quarter. The vendor continued to drive solid expansion in the consumer market while maintaining robust presence in the commercial space, and posted positive results across both portable and desktop PCs, gaining market share in each of the subregions. Product innovation, competitive pricing, and strategy execution country by country continued to support increased momentum for the vendor.

Acer maintained third position with a performance that continued to be impacted by slow consumer demand, the disappearance of mini-notebooks, and an unfavorable year-on-year comparison with volumes supported last year by preparation for the Windows 8 launch. The vendor continued to be very active, with new attractive products launched, but took a cautious inventory management approach.

Dell achieved great results, gaining market share in both the desktop and notebook segments. The vendor successfully managed commercial demand and renewals across the region. Product innovation, the redesign of certain brands, and a focused end-user computing strategy on PC refresh and on the evolving end-user landscape contributed to its success and sales increase.

Asus maintained fifth place despite a strong double-digit decline in shipments, directly impacted by the disappearance of mini-notebooks. The vendor was also affected by an unfavorable year-on-year comparison due to preparation for the Windows 8 launch in 3Q12. The vendor's strong innovation in tablets does not currently seem to reflect on performance in the portable PC market.

Outside the top 5 vendors, Apple gained sixth place, benefiting from a product refresh and overall brand strength and positioning, but it was not immune to the consumer slowdown. Toshiba ranked seventh, suffering from strong consumer market exposure and careful inventory management ahead of new product launches in the coming quarter. Samsung, still challenged by high retail inventory, ranked eighth in EMEA. Sony went up one place in EMEA with a performance in line with the market. Fujitsu closed the top 10, with sustained growth in the desktop space in particular.

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