Western Europe PC market sees growth in 2010

Unit sales of PCs in Western Europe through all major distribution channels rose by 12.2 percent overall last year, despite a less than impressive fourth quarter (Q4) with sales advancing only 3.2 percent as compared with Q4 2009.

According to research firm Context, consumer PC sales across Western Europe fell 16.2 percent in December and were a significant factor in the quarter’s slow growth alongside a challenging economic enviroment.

“This was no doubt partly caused by difficult trading conditions brought about by the bad weather across the region, but must also be a reflection on the tough economic times for consumers,” said Jeremy Davies, CEO at Context.

The peak in sales for 2010 came in September with growth steadily declining over the next three months, with the revenues dipping by 3.8 percent in December.

It noted that tablet PCs had a more positive performance with impressive figures in the last quarter of 2010, with Apple unsurprisingly accounting for over half of all units tracked.

Also, while consumer preference for large all-in-one PCs declined in Q4 2010, ultra-slim desktop units and micro-towers saw increases.

PCs aimed at business buyers were on the rise in the final quarter of 2010 following a recovery that had begun in the second quarter of 2010, with revenues up 9.9 percent in the final quarter as compared to the previous year.

Server sales also continued to grow with revenues up by 7.8 percent in the final quarter of 2010, which is apparently attributable to consistent consolidation and the demand for more storage.

Higher value workstation product revenues were actually said to grow 24.8 percent year on year in the final quarter, due to increased activity and recovery in the banking and financial sector.

Until the third quarter of 2010, it is reported that netbook sales were still advancing at around 20 percent growth in unit terms, but by Q4 2010 sales growth had stopped. PC average selling prices ended the year up 5 percent in Q4 2010 compared to the first quarter of 2010.

It  noted that Lenovo, Toshiba and Apple all increased their sales via distribution, with MSI also making a significant impact despite being a relative newcomer.

“Overall, despite softness in the final quarter, 2010 was a good year for the Western European PC market,” said Davies. “Looking forward to 2011, we’re expecting to see a large impact of tablet PC sales in the first half, and if notebook PC sales hold up – and there is no reason to think they won’t – we expect similar growth rates with improved average selling prices and therefore revenues.”

In terms of individual countries Belgium was hardest hit, with sales down 15.8 percent in the final quarter, while France and Spain also saw negative growth of 2.1 percent and 3.4 percent respectively. 

The UK fared better however, with growth of 5.9 percent in the final quarter due to strength in the desktop PC and server sales.