PC shipments in Western Europe totalled 20.1 million units in 4Q 2008, an increase of 12.1% from the same period in 2007, according to research firm Gartner. In 2008, PC shipments reached 66 million units in Western Europe, representing a 17.2% growth from 2007.
"Surprisingly, in the fourth quarter of 2008 Western Europe was the strongest performing region in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) as both Central Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa were impacted severely by the worsening economic conditions," said Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst at Gartner, based in the UK. "Mini-notebooks continued to boost growth reaching nearly 2.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2008, with the Telco channel gathering greater importance as a route to market for the PC vendors."
"While growth in PC sales in Western Europe was good, the underlying trend was down, with the professional market experiencing a 5% decline in the fourth quarter of 2008. If it wasn’t for mini-notebooks, the overall Western European market would be showing a decline. This does not bode well for 2009 as we expect the general economic conditions to worsen," he added.
The vendors that were active in the consumer market achieved the best results, with all three major European countries—-the UK, France and Germany—-leading the growth. In 4Q 2008, ASUS and Toshiba recorded the highest growth as they grew mainstream notebooks on top of mini-notebook shipments.
Also in 4Q 2008, price competition remained fierce with average selling prices falling 15% year-on-year, Atwal said. "Vendors have to manage risk in the PC business by balancing shipment levels with revenues and margins, while understanding there is still a significant PC market in 2009 with opportunities for the best prepared vendors," said Atwal.
In 4Q 2008, Acer maintained its leadership but grew below the market average mainly due to its limited performance on the desktop professional market, Gartner said. It continued to achieve strong results in the mobile PC market with 54% growth, Gartner said. ASUS maintained its strong performance with its Eee PC that represented nearly 60% of all ASUS PC shipments. This performance allowed the vendor to gain the fourth position displacing Toshiba in the overall PC market and to reach the No. 3 spot in the mobile market.
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