The UK PC market performed worse than both France and Germany in the fourth quarter, according to Gartner, with both business and consumer shipments decreasing.
For the final quarter of 2013, some 2.9 million desktops, laptops and Windows tablets were shipped in the UK, a 6.7 per cent decline compared to a year ago. This dragged down the wider western European market, which posted a 4.4 per cent annual decline. Like-for-like PC shipments in France and Germany shrunk, but only by 1.7 per cent and 5.6 per cent respectively.
Gartner put the poor UK performance down to a 10 per cent annual decline in mobile shipments, and an 11.7 per cent fall in the number of consumer devices shipped. The commercial PC market fare somewhat better, but still shrunk annually by 1.2 per cent - a figure which was reportedly buoyed somewhat by Microsoft's Windows XP migration campaign juggernaut.
"The upgrade of professional desktops on Windows XP provided momentum in the fourth quarter of 2013, with four of the top five vendors [HP, Lenovo, Dell, Toshiba and Apple] in the professional PC segment seeing year-on-year growth," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.
Dell lost its second-place position in the UK market to Lenovo, whose shipments shot up 5.4 per cent year on year thanks to a consumer boom, compared to a 6.1 per cent slump for Dell.
The UK was not an isolated sore spot for Dell last quarter either as it failed to even make the list of top-five vendors across western Europe, losing out to Apple.
But a boost in business PC sales could see the vendor oust the Mac-maker from the list in the coming three months, said Gartner.
"The battle for the fifth place was fierce," said Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner.
"Apple has a strong presence in the consumer PC market, while Dell's presence in the enterprise is strong. If demand for business PCs is stronger than consumer PCs, we may see the ranking change next quarter."
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