The PC sector is continuing to recover from its worst ever slump, thanks to increased business spending and the continued rise of notebook sales.
This is the verdict of analyst IDC, which has claimed that sales in the EMEA PC market in the first quarter of 2004 were up by more than 20 per cent on the same period in 2003, continuing the recovery that started in the second half of last year.
The firm said PC sales were boosted by a rise in business spending, while aggressive pricing and the euro's strength continued to stimulate consumer and SME demand.
IDC reported that Hewlett-Packard retained a strong leadership in EMEA with a 18.3 per cent share, up 13 per cent on 2003. Dell continued to gain ground across the sector, coming second with 13 per cent, up by 36.2 per cent.
Fujitsu performed well in third, with a market share of 7.9 per cent, but Acer is the one making all the waves in fourth with seven per cent, thanks to a massive surge of 76.4 per cent in Q1 2003.
According to IDC, desktop sales displayed a robust 12 per cent year-on-year growth, driven by an uptake in corporate renewals, strong demand in the SME segment and consumer desktop upgrades.
Notebooks continued to be the star of the sector, enjoying another quarter at above 40 per cent growth, as a result of strong demand in the consumer and SME markets.
This in turn has been fuelled by price erosion and aggressive competition between vendors.
A slow uptake in the corporate sector also helped. X86 server sales performed strongly with over 20 per cent growth compared with Q1 2003, thanks to increased corporate spending, aggressive pricing and SME market competition.
"After four years of constrained budgets and PC lifecycles extended to their maximum since the last major renewal wave in 1999/2000, the long-awaited corporate refresh cycles were bound to take place and, as expected, accelerate in 2004," said Karine Paoli, research director at IDC's EMEA Personal Computing group.
"Although spending attitudes remain cautious, expectations of a gradual improvement of economic conditions also are helping to raise business confidence across the region.
"The rebound in commercial spending and long-awaited refresh cycles will provide a lift to overall PC sales throughout 2004 and 2005."
Terry Fisher, business development manager for the HPC division at VAR Compusys, said: "It has certainly been a good quarter for us. Business spending is picking up without question and this is evident across all our divisions; everyone is looking forward to some positive results.
"The long-awaited recovery is actually underway, with companies acting on IT plans that were shelved. Businesses now have the new business there to justify spending on new IT."
Infrastructure provider says international sales now make up 51 per cent of its revenue
Suzanne Chappell of TMS plans sailing venture after selling Oxfordshire-based TMS to acquisitive Chess
Withdrawal of credit insurance by some providers a 'reflection' of current challenge facing IT sector, according to MD Steve Soper
SMART's UK managing director joins Lenovo to boost SMB business