The UK PC market fared the worst in western Europe in the third quarter according to Gartner, that pointed to a poor level of professional PC shipments as one of the key reasons for its worse-than-expected slump.
Q3 saw 2.3 million PCs shipped in the UK, down 21.2 per cent compared with the same period last year. This means 11 of the last 12 quarters have shown decline in the market.
The UK's Q3 slump was partly down to a 13.6 per cent year-on-year drop in consumer PCs but mainly due to a 28.1 per cent plummet in professional shipments.
The mobile PC market accounted for 62 per cent of total PC shipments in the UK, with volumes decreasing by 23.7 per cent year-on-year, while desktop PC shipments declined by 16.9 per cent over the same period.
Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said the future was not looking great for the UK PC market.
"In the third quarter of 2013, we saw that the weakness of the PC market in the UK was greater than in France and Germany," he said. "In addition, while the top five vendors' shipments in the UK declined by 3.5 per cent, the other PC vendors' shipments declined by more than 40 per cent.
"Overall, we expect the PC market in the UK to remain weak in the fourth quarter of 2013."
Of the top five vendors, third-placed Lenovo was the only one to grow annually in Q3 after shipments jumped 26.4 per cent. Market-leader HP and second-placed Dell both suffered year-on-year shipment dips, down 9.1 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.
Fourth- and fifth-placed Apple and Acer suffered a similar fate, with their respective PC shipment figures falling 0.5 per cent and 17.7 per cent over the same period.
Overall in western Europe, some 11.9 million PCs were shipped in Q3, down 12.8 per cent compared with the same period last year – a bigger decline than forecast.
Gartner said inventory caution and tablet popularity were partly to blame.
"The PC market in western Europe continued to shrink, declining faster than expected," said Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner.
"The transition from PCs to tablets continued to reduce PC sales. In addition, product transitions to Haswell and Bay Trail processors, and preparations for the launch of Windows 8.1 and associated new products, meant that vendors were careful about managing inventory and focused on clearing out stock in the distribution channel."
In France, 2.3 million PCs were shifted in Q3 – down 10.4 per cent annually, while German shipments fell 14.4 per cent annually after it also shipped 2.3 million units.
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