Enterprise notebook demand bucks PC market's downward trend

An analysis of the PC market across Western Europe in the first two months of this year has revealed that aside from enterprise notebooks it has been a pretty poor start to the year

The demand from the commercial market for PCs has been the only bright spot for a hardware segment that has seen consumer spending fall over the last year.

But there are signs that on the desktop front the light is fading although enterprise spending, with some of that fuelled by a shift to Windows 10, on laptops has continued into this year.

Weak business PC sales and soft consumer spending dragged down the overall PC market in the first two months, according to figures from Context.

The analyst house reported that the number of consumer PCs sold through distribution was down 5% year-on-year in January and February. Consumer desktops were down by 14% and notebooks by 3%.

On the commercial front things were better, with the overall market being down by 3%. That was dragged down by a 13% decline in business desktops and a 3% improvement on the notebooks side of things.

Last month Context noted that 62% of Windows business PCs sold through Western European distributors were using Windows 10 Pro.

"Business Notebooks have seen growth for quite a few quarters across distribution, driven by solid demand for high-end, innovative systems and the rising transition to Windows 10”, said Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at Context.

“The commercial Desktop segment however, remained soft in early Q117 and while we continued to see growth in some sub-segments, such as Mini PCs, the category posted a strong decline overall," she added.

The UK market was not the worst performing in Western Europe but it was close with Poland and Italy delivering double digit declines.

It was not all about declines and Germany and Switzerland both saw some growth in PC sales.

Country split
Year-on-year PC volume (all PCs) growth by country, early Q1 2017 (January+February):

Germany                        3.8%

United Kingdom            -10.9%

Italy                               -13.0%

France                             -1.9%

Spain                               -6.1%

Netherlands                     -5.0%

Switzerland                        2.0%

Sweden                            -3.6%

Austria                              -3.9%

Poland                              -15.3%

Source: Context

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