Tablet sales more than tripled across Western Europe in the first quarter of 2013 compared to last year, while consumer PCs continued their slide of doom.
This is according to the latest sales through figures from market watcher Context, which attributed the 206 per cent leap to a surge in seven-inch, price-friendly, Android-based tablets coming to market.
However the analyst warned Microsoft that it risks falling out of the race if it does not bring it products into the mainstream sales channels sooner rather than later.
Consumer PCs - which include desktops, notebooks and netbooks running a Windows OS - declined 17 per cent in the quarter and were hit hard by an overall decline of netbook sales and economic constraints across the region.
Breaking the figures down into specific countries, the UK suffered a 17.9 per cent decline in PC sales, compared with a 6.8 per cent decline in France and a 20.7 per cent decline in both Germany and Italy.
This is in stark contrast to the tablet growth in the same countries, with UK sales through distribution growing a whopping 443.9 per cent, France growing 285.7 per cent, Germany 170.8 per cent and Italy 165.6 per cent.
According to Context's figures, Android-based systems accounted for over half of tablet sales in Q1, compared with one third in the same quarter a year ago.
This brought the overall average selling price for tablets in distribution down to €283 for Q1, a fall of over €100 from the same figure a year ago.
Jeremy Davies, co-founder of Context, said: "With an average selling price of less than that of Windows PCs, consumers are voting with their wallets, buying cheaper tablets and forgoing any renewal cycles on their home PCs for the time being.
However he said the lack of Windows 8-based tablets in the mainstream distribution channel - in particular the Surface - was hitting Microsoft hard, and the competition was steaming ahead.
"Whatever is being sold is via Microsoft direct - in the UK there is only Dixons and John Lewis - we just are not seeing it as a mainstream product going through normal channels.
He explained Microsoft's main rivals such as Apple, Google, Amazon and Samsung were storming ahead with the vendors "throwing everything they have" at the market.
"However as the ASPs show, the market is going to commoditise more quickly than everyone thought - these products are getting cheaper," he said. "Microsoft has to move very fast to catch up. They need to do something dramatic and extensive if they are serious about this market segment, which I think they are."
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