Context signals a slowdown in Windows XP PC refresh

An analysis of the PC market in the fourth quarter from Context has found that the Windows XP upgrade effect is starting to slowdown

There are signs that the Windows XP effect is starting to wear off in the corporate desktop market but consumers have picked up the baton and are keeping the PC market going with an appetite for laptops.

The latest analysis of the Western European market from Context, which gets its numbers directly from distribution, reveals that the fourth quarter was another decent one for those selling PCs.

Over the past few quarters the revival in the market has continued and been helped by a decline in popularity of tablets, which had been eating into the PC market share.

Context figures show that sales of PCs across Western Europe increased by 20% in Q4, which was an improvement on a year earlier which was down at -3.3%.

Business growth slowed compared to the previous couple of quarters as the need to replace Windows XP machines tails off and it is notebooks that are now the driving force in the market, particularly on the consumer side.

Country by country

PC Q414 year-on-year unit growth figures:
Czech Republic: +20%
Denmark: 9.1%
France: 26.4%
Germany: 13.8%
Italy: 15.4%
Netherlands: 31.6%
Poland +3.6%
Spain: 40.9%
Sweden: 11.3%
Switzerland: -1.9%
UK: 24.8%
Source: Context

Consumer sales increased by 23.9% in Q4 with a lower 14.9% on the business side. Notebooks were in favour with 23.4% growth compared to 10.9% on the desktop side.

“The push in budget consumer Notebooks that we saw in Q3 2014 intensified in the run up to Christmas”, said Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at Context.

“Partly down to systems based on Windows with Bing, consumers were able to choose from a wide range of low-end clamshell Notebooks at very competitive prices. As a result, 27.4% of consumer clamshell notebooks are in the sub-€250 category versus just 8.3% in Q4 2013," she added.

The tablet market, which usually gets a boost at Christmas as the devices are given as presents, suffered a tough time with unit sales declining year-on-year by 9.2%. The analyst house pointed the finger at the longer replacement cycles and poor performance on Android devices.

Read more on Desktop PCs