UK PC market continues to tumble

The latest Q3 PC shipment figures from Gartner make grim reading for those hoping for signs of recovery in the UK PC market

The PC market in Western Europe continues to decline as users make the transition from traditional desktops and laptops to tablets and the channel walks the tightrope to make sure stocks are cleared before Windows 8.1 machines kick in.

The latest analysis of the PC market across Western Europe from Gartner showed a 12.8% decline in the third quarter, compared with the same period last year, with 11.9m units being shipped.

"The PC market in Western Europe continued to shrink, declining faster than expected," said Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner.

"The transition from PCs to tablets continued to reduce PC sales. In addition, product transitions to 'Haswell' and 'Bay Trail' processors, and preparations for the launch of Windows 8.1 and associated new products, meant that vendors were careful about managing inventory and focused on clearing out stock in the distribution channel," he added.

The UK was in a worse position than France and Germany with a 21.1% year-on-year decline in Q3 and Gartner is expecting that trend to continue into the fourth quarter. The consumer PC market dropped by 13.6%  with the corporate side also suffering a 28.1% decrease compared to 2012.

"Eleven of the previous 12 quarters also showed decline in the UK PC market," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, who said that none of the main vendors were immune from the difficult market conditions with the top five players suffering declines of 3.5% and the remainder being hit by units falling by 40%.

HP took the top spot in the UK PC market, which does not include tablets and Chromebooks, with 22.1% market share, followed by Lenovo (12.4%), Acer (11.7%), Dell (10.3%) and Apple (8.4%).

“Overall, we expect the PC market in the UK to remain weak in the fourth quarter of 2013,” added Atwal.

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