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August 6, 2009

UK PC shipments dip in Q2

Gartner research suggest trend will continue throughout 2009

By Steve Evans

Analyst firm Gartner has revealed that PC shipments in the UK dipped 6.5% during the second quarter of the year and that the decline set to continue for the rest of 2009. Shipments for the quarter in the UK totalled 2.6 million, down from 2.8 million in the same period last year.

Gartner blamed the results on weakening demand in the consumer sector, despite a wide variety of netbooks or mini-notebooks being released. Any increase in mini-netbook shipments was offset by slump in mainstream notebook sales, Gartner said.

“The difference this quarter was that both the professional and consumer markets were weak in the second quarter of 2009,” said Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst at Gartner. “This quarter was highlighted by the level of decline across both desk-based and mobile PC platforms, with a quarter of the market disappearing.”

Of the major PC vendors, only Acer and Apple saw year on year growth, with increases of 32.6% and 14.7% respectively. Acer’s improved performance saw it claim the second spot with a market share of 20.8%, behind market leader Dell on 23.5%. HP saw the biggest drop, with its market share diving 25.1% to 16.7%.

Atwal expects PC shipments to continue to fall during the rest of 2009. “There is much discussion on where the market is headed and at the moment there is only one direction and that is down. Even with the onset of “back to school promotions”, new products and Windows 7 to become available in the fourth quarter, the market will not recover until 2010,” he said.

France and Germany also saw a decline in PC shipments, with dips of 1.2% and 2.7% respectively, contributing to a decline of 3.3% across Western Europe.

Rob Lovell, CEO of on-demand IT services provider ThinkGrid, said he was not surprised by the results and expected the decline in sales to continue.

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“Part of the decline is no doubt down to the economy, but as businesses look at new ways to cut costs we predict that the emergence of hosted virtual desktops and software as a service will fuel this downward trend. Rather than having to go through the hassle of refreshing desktop hardware every two or three years, we are seeing businesses hanging on to their old PCs and using them to access hosted virtual desktops (VDI) and a range of other on-demand IT services. Unfortunately, for PC manufacturers, this isn’t just a blip but a sign of things to come,” he said.

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