Windows XP upgrades arrest PC market slide in UK

With declines in fourth quarter PC shipments in the UK not as steep as previous periods, Gartner has said the looming end of Windows XP is breathing a little life back into the market

New statistics from analysts at Gartner have revealed a slowdown in the scale of the PC market declines seen in the past few years during the final quarter of 2013.

In common with recent market assessments from rival analyst houses, Gartner’s latest data set has revealed that shipments of 2.9m units into the UK were down by 6.7% compared to the same period at the end of 2012.

This was more than the 4.4% drop seen in Western Europe but down substantially on the 21% fall seen in the third quarter of last year.

Gartner’s Ranjit Atwal explained: “The upgrade of professional desktops on Windows XP provided momentum in the fourth quarter of 2013, with four of the top five vendors in the professional PC segment seeing year-on-year growth.”

Indeed, pretty much all the good news in the UK came on the business side, falling just 1.2% compared to 11.7% on the consumer side, indicating that once again the longed-for Christmas bounce did not happen.

The top five vendors in the UK market in the fourth quarter were HP, with shipments down by 4.7%, Lenovo, up 5.4%, moving into second place ahead of Dell, down 6.1%, Toshiba, up 18.9% and Apple, up 26.7%. Shipments of PCs through other vendors was also up by over 25%, Gartner revealed.

Despite a shipment decline in the fourth quarter of 2013, HP grew its market share and remained in the No. 1 position in the UK PC market. It increased its lead in both the consumer and mobile PC segments. For the first time, Lenovo moved to the second place ahead of Dell. Lenovo's expansion in the consumer PC segment allowed it to take its share above nine per cent and cement its place in the top five consumer PC vendor rankings. Toshiba and Apple were the strongest performers in the quarter, with strong professional and consumer PC market growth.

“We expect that the PC market in the UK will be smaller and stabilise at a lower level,” commented Atwal.

Gartner principle research analyst, Meike Escherich, added her perspective on the Western European figures, noting that the rate of unit decline was moderate across geographies, and suggesting this could show that the impact of tablets cannibalising PC sales in mature markets could be fading.

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