Bottom falls out of Western European PC market: analysts

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Bottom falls out of Western European PC market: analysts

Lenovo and Apple duck decline.

A Gartner report of Western European PC shipments for the first quarter of this year shows over a fifth decline, making it the worst ever result since the analyst firm started tracking sales in the region.

According to Gartner analysts, the decline is directly related to consumers picking smartphones and tablets instead of desktop and laptop PCs.

"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," according to Gartner analyst Meike Escherich.

Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system has not helped boost PC sales despite wide availability of devices, Gartner said.

Consumers are also extending the operating life of their devices, and are willing to put up with less productivity as a result.

Of the large European PC markets, France dropped the most with a quarter fall in shipments for the January to March period this year, compared to the same time in 2012, Gartner noted.

Sales are down across the board, and vendors such as HP, Acer, Asus, Dell and Toshiba are recording sharp drops in unit shipments, the analysts said.

Chinese-owned Lenovo is a bucking the trend however, racking up a 7.2 per cent growth in the aggregated Western Europe Gartner sales statistics. In the UK, Lenovo is enjoying a fifth growth, but its sales are stagnant in France and dropped by 5.2 per cent in Germany.

Apple is the only other PC vendor registering growth in shipments, up a modest 0.8 per cent on the year.

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