The west European PC market declined 8.9% compared with the same quarter the year before. A shift in interest and budget towards other products contributed to weak consumer demand and slow stock depletion across Western Europe, according to analyst IDC.
However, the decline in the corporate market was slower. IDC noted a continued shift in budget and interest towards other devices, particularly new media tablets and smartphones. It expects media tablets such as the Apple iPad, the web OS-based HP TouchPad and Android-based tablets will be secondary devices. But it expects to see growing interest in Windows-based tablets (Windows slate devices) in the enterprise.
Eszter Morvay, research manager, IDC's EMEA Personal Computing research, said: "Although no major roll-out has started just yet, we're seeing very encouraging signs for Windows-based slate tablet adoption. IDC estimates that in the second quarter close to 20,000 slate tablets shipped in the Western European commercial segment, compared with just 5,000 during the same quarter last year.
"Vertical sectors with field workers, such as utilities, transport, and healthcare, have always represented a key growth opportunity, and current product expansion and improvement could well support accelerated penetration."
IDC defines Windows slates as PC devices, unlike media tablets, which generally use less powerful processors. Traditionally, Windows tablets run vertical applications, but this is a niche market, according to Eszter Morvay.
However, she said: "Windows slates are important for enterprises, due to compatibility with desktop PCs, and the stability of the platform compared to Android and iOS."
Morvay expects the Windows slate market to grow: "Look at the number of available models such as Fujitsu's 10 inch slate with touch functionality." She said Fujitsu has been working with software companies to develop applications specific to their Windows slate devices. "Fujitsu is going after the enterprise space and mid-market.
IDC blames the decline in PC shipments to PC purchases being postponed, leading to a contraction of 32.2% in consumer sell-in, affecting desktop and portable PC form factors.
Morvay said: "Despite the seasonal impact of the back-to-school and Christmas periods, consumer demand is likely to remain lacklustre and geared toward media tablets, as a plethora of new models was launched in 2Q with many more to follow in the coming months. Broader product availability and choice will drive fierce vendor competition, which is likely to lead to a price battle, making these devices more affordable for a wider audience."
Top five PC suppliers
- HP maintained strong leadership and further consolidated its market share in EMEA. However, consumer shipments continued to contract, affected by weak consumer demand and high inventory levels.
- Acer held on to second place but continued to be severely affected by high inventory build-up accumulated over the past year.
- Dell enjoyed a strong quarter and returned to positive growth, although stronger results were constrained by weaker than anticipated demand across both consumer and commercial segments.
- Asus maintained fourth place, but continued to gain market share. It remained adversely constrained by weak consumer demand and high inventory levels in the channel.
- Lenovo regained fifth position in the overall ranking. It maintained positive growth overall, but momentum slowed in Western Europe, with a sharp drop in consumer sales, limiting the vendor's overall performance this quarter.
Source: IDC EMEA PC Market Q2 2011