The PC market across western Europe shrank by more than a fifth in this year's first quarter, according to Gartner – the worst results since the analyst began tracking the region.
Across western Europe, unit shipments fell 20.5 per cent annually to 12.3 million due to the boom in tablets and smartphone sales and what Gartner claims is the limp reaction to Windows 8-based PCs.
In spite of the poor regional figures, the UK PC market fared better than its French and German counterparts. During Q1, the UK shipments shrank by 15.8 per cent annually to 2.5 million units, while France and Germany's PC shipment figures slumped by 25.3 per cent and 20 per cent respectively over the same period.
The UK professional PC market declined 7.6 per cent annually in Q1 – compared with a 23.5 per cent decline in the consumer market – which Gartner put down to Lenovo's strong performance in the country.
Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said: "Lenovo's strong performance in the first quarter of 2013 prevented the professional PC market declining faster. While the professional PC market continues to see the importance of the productivity gained from using a PC, consumers attribute much less value to the use of PCs."
Lenovo was the only top-five vendor to significantly increase its shipment level across western Europe in Q1, growing 20.8 per cent annually and remaining in third place.
HP retained its crown as market leader despite posting a 24.1 per cent year-on-year decline in shipments, ahead of second-placed Dell which shipped 11.4 per cent fewer PCs than it did in 2012's Q1. Acer and Toshiba, which hold fifth and sixth position respectively, also experienced an annual decline in shipment levels, dropping 26.6 per cent and 29.3 per cent respectively in Q1.
Windows 8 has taken a hammering from analysts since it launched, and Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner, joined in and questioned whether or not its touchscreen elements were suitable for PCs.
She said: "Wide availability of Windows 8-based PCs could not boost consumer PC purchases during the quarter. Although the new Metro-style user interface suits new form factors, users wonder about its suitability for traditional PCs, non-touchscreen desktops and notebooks.
"The first quarter of 2013 brought the worst quarterly decline in western Europe since Gartner started tracking PC shipments in this region.
"The PC is the first to fall by the wayside as usage patterns shift toward smartphones and tablets. This ongoing trend will have a profound impact on the size of the installed base of PCs."
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