PC shipments in Western Europe totalled 19.4 million units in the fourth quarter of 2010, a decline of 4.4% from the same period in 2009, according to Gartner.
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Traditionally the last quarter of the year is driven by growth in the consumer segment, said Meike Escherich, principal analyst at Gartner. However, between October and the end of December 2010 the consumer PC market declined 8.1%.
Consumer spending shifted decisively from PCs to other consumer electronic devices, including media tablets, gaming machines and e-readers, the research found. A wait-and-see approach had an effect on PC spending as consumers expected there to be new products and cheaper media tablets in the first quarter of 2011, it said.
In the fourth quarter of 2010, the top three PC vendors all saw declines year-on-year in Western Europe. HP regained the number one position from Acer with a 22% market share. Dell continued to struggle in the consumer PC market, but benefited from a slight pickup in demand for professional PCs.
"2011 will be a defining year for the consumer device market. Vendors and service providers will have to rethink how they retain customers and attract new ones if they want to survive in this highly competitive environment," said Escherich.