Strong channel partnerships have been cited as a key factor in Acer's run-away success in the European notebook sector.
According to analyst Context's recent European PC Shipment Report, Acer extended its lead in the EMEA notebook sector by 3.5 per cent in the third quarter of 2004 to give it a 22 per cent market share. Hewlett-Packard (HP) lies in second place with 20.1 per cent, after a poor Q3 performance.
Acer recorded a 52 per cent increase in turnover compared with the same quarter in 2003, which amounts to almost twice the overall market growth rate of 27.4 per cent.
Context reported that the only vendor to grow its notebook business more quickly in the same period was Fujitsu Siemens, with notebook sales up by 53 per cent year on year.
"Acer is providing a limited number of good-quality products, and making it easy for dealers to buy them and sell them to customers. It helps that there's not an endless choice of systems," said James Bates, senior analyst at iSuppli.
"We keep hearing that Acer is easy to deal with, and its supply chain is very good so dealers always have something to sell. We are also getting some good feedback from the channel that the products are reliable."
John Turner, business manager at distributor Midwich, claimed: "For us, the growth on Acer has been phenomenal. There is more business coming through from the main resellers as they grow their own customer base."
Turner added that the notebook business is very aggressive, and Acer has a good value-for-money proposition.
"As a company it is lean and mean," he said. "Its cost of doing business is very low and it's bringing attractively priced and well-specified products to market. Its stock is reliable, whereas with a lot of vendors it tends to be a 'feast or famine' situation."
To date, the bulk of Acer's growth is coming from the consumer and SME spaces, with very little happening at the corporate end of the market.
"We don't see Acer much in the corporate space," Bates said. "Without being critical, it does not add a lot of value to its products. For the customer that does not have very complicated needs, Acer is very appealing, but this is not the case for corporate customers looking for more complex mobile offerings."
HP's notebook business suffered in Q3, with sales up 12 per cent - less than half the market average - which contributed to it losing 2.7 per cent market share. Other leading notebook vendors performed above average for the quarter, with Toshiba growing by 28 per cent, IBM by 31 per cent and Dell by 32 per cent.
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