Slate-type tablet PCs contributed the main portion of growth to sagging western Europe channel sales through the first half of 2013, according to new figures from Context – although only the UK saw positive overall growth as a result.
Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at Context, said that the traditional distribution mainstay, PCs, has been in decline – but slate volume sales have expanded 137 per cent through the past six months.
"In the consumer segment, while the iPad remains a popular choice, we have seen tablet demand steadily driven by low-end Android offerings," she said.
"The increasing availability of attractively priced Android systems means consumers can easily buy a tablet as an additional product to their home PC, which means they postpone the replacement of their traditional PC."
The result was even more pronounced in the UK, with slate sales exploding 389.1 per cent in the first half, putting the UK in the lead when it comes to tablet consumption.
Pygott said her figures reveal that consumer tablets have had a consistent effect on overall PC market sales throughout the first half, especially since businesses are not spending as much as they once did.
However, once again the UK stood out, registering three per cent expansion of the overall PC market in unit terms – the only geography to see positive growth in the first half.
Overall, western Europe saw PC sales slide 12.6 per cent in the first half. Netbook sales in particular slumped, with demand down 75.6 per cent compared to the first half of 2012.
Windows 8 appears to have had "little positive impact" on consumer PC demand in the region, according to Context, which it puts down to limited touchscreen availability and steep price points.
Context's figures show that Android took 61.2 per cent of the slate-type tablet market, up from 25.1 per cent in the same period a year ago. Apple's iOS share of slate tablets sales through distribution fell from 71.2 per cent in the first half to 37.2 per cent in the first half of this year.
"Businesses do not see a need for new product refreshes – many have only just upgraded to Windows 7, are reluctant to use Windows 8 given the mixed press it received, and are unsure of the use of touch functionality in a business environment," Pygott (pictured, right) noted.
Only 20 per cent of Windows OS-based PCs in business were Windows 8 in the first half of 2013, she said.
"PC vendors are increasingly trying to seize the changing mobile market by launching tablets and hybrid laptop/tablets. While we expect sales of hybrids to grow over the next six months, volumes in this segment are not yet substantial enough to provide mainstream growth," Pygott said.
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