Recovery in the UK PC arena stalled in the third quarter as netbook sales went into freefall.
Preliminary numbers from IDC reveal UK shipments sank 5% to 3.1 million units following several quarters of growth, with excess inventory from Q2 and media tablet-induced delays to consumer purchasing also causing the slowdown.
"We had a much more positive forecast for Q3," said IDC research manager Eszter Morvay, who added that every month in the summer quarter had been disappointing.
Commercial and consumer desktop shipments were up 1.4% and 2.7% respectively while commercial portables grew 3.1% but it was the 5% decline in consumer portables - which account for nearly half of UK sales - that really caused the damage.
The major contributing factor was the 42% collapse in netbook sales (which more than offset the 19% rise in consumer portable shipments) as the telco channel continued to wind down netbook hardware bundles and consumers eyed up the tablet platform.
"The telco channel drove netbook sales last year but now we are seeing a major slowdown," said Morvay, "After realising that they were not earning as much money as they expected, telcos have visibily withdrawn thier investment since the begining of 2010."
Despite being at the sharp end of the declining segments with shipments dropping 8%, Acer continued to lead the UK PC market.
HP improved its recent performance to post 9% growth, Dell's troubles continued with a 19% fall in sales as corporate refreshes continued in much smaller chunks than expected, while Toshiba and Apple grew 25% and 30% respecitvely.