The faltering western European PC market remained soft in 2011's closing quarter, with Christmas failing to provide the expected boost to sales.
Figures released by Gartner today find that global PC shipments in 2011 rose half a per cent on the prior year to almost 353 million. Solid growth in the commercial market was offset by weakened consumer spending.
HP leads the vendor pack, holding a 17.2 per cent market share, just over four points ahead of Lenovo. Dell, in third, and Acer, in fourth, are both within two points of second spot, while Asus has gatecrashed the global top five at the expense of Toshiba.
The EMEA market limped to the end of a disappointing year, with Q4 shipments falling 9.6 per cent annually. This represents a fourth consecutive quarterly decline. Full-year shipment numbers were down 7.2 per cent year on year.
HP stretched its lead at the top of the EMEA market to 7.5 points in Q4, despite a double-digit shipment decline. The US firm accounted for just over a fifth of systems shipped in the region during the quarter.
The chasing pack is tightly bunched, with Acer on 12.6 per cent, Asus on 11.4 and Dell on 11. Acer must be glad to see the back of 2011, with a fourth-quarter EMEA shipment slump of 36.5 per cent rounding off a miserable year for the Taiwanese firm.
Asus, Dell and fifth-placed Lenovo, which holds 8.2 per cent of the market, all posted growth in Q4, and each has added 1.5 points or more to its market share over the course of 2011.
Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said: "The PC market remained weak during the holiday season, with seasonal growth lower than normally expected. Western Europe in particular saw weak consumer growth as the austere economic environment squeezed consumer spend on PCs. By contrast, the Middle East and Africa and some of the central and eastern Europe regions saw a positive quarter, so we are starting to see diverging PC growth trends compared to western Europe."
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