The PC market recovery in Europe failed to materialise in the UK during the fourth quarter as recession-hit businesses continued to steer clear of new purchases.
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Preliminary data by IDC shows that 3.76 million units were shipped into UK sales channels during the final three months of 2009, representing a 1.7% year-on-year decline. In contrast, sales rose 7.8% in Germany and 2% in France.
"The numbers for the UK are not great. The commercial sector was so weak that it pulled down the entire market," said Eszter Morvay, research manager at IDC.
Sales of business notebooks and desktops fell 22% and 20% respectively, offsetting modest growth of 16.5% in consumer portables and 0.3% rise in consumer desktops driven by all-in-one PCs, following three years of declines.
Mainstream computer renewals are forecast to return in the first half of 2010, with corporate enterprises and SMEs expected to refresh ageing PC stocks.
"The market will not collapse further, but a recovery in demand levels is not expected until the second half of the year," said Morvay.
Taiwanese giant Acer led the UK space with nearly 20% market share after posting 19% growth. HP slipped into second, nudging Dell into third - both companies saw sales decline 7%. Toshiba's sales were flat and Samsung moved into fifth place on the back of 100% growth.