World Cup fever depresses PC sales

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World Cup fever depresses PC sales

Manufacturers score an own goal.

The World Cup has been blamed for a PC sales slow-down across Europe, according to IDC.

The analysts firm's latest research shows that western European shipments recorded only a modest 0.7 per cent growth year on year in the second quarter of 2006. Overall EMEA PC shipment growth was estimated at 6.4 per cent.

In addition to the World Cup, demand for PCs in many countries across the region was depressed by large stocks of inventory in the channel, the preliminary results from IDC Quarterly PC Tracker reported.

However, in contrast to this lacklustre demand for desktop PCs, notebooks continued to show double-digit growth.

"While demand in western Europe was set to slow in the second quarter of 2006, the additional impact of the World Cup and the level of inventory built up in the channel since the fourth quarter hit overall shipment levels in the second quarter," said Karine Paoli, research director for IDC's EMEA PC group.

"The gradual stock reduction which took place this quarter, combined with continued demand for portable PCs and attractive promotions expected in the back-to-school season, should offer a return to healthier growth patterns in the third quarter, but the competitive environment will remain fierce at all industry levels."

In contrast to the poor performance in western Europe, central and eastern Europe came close to expectations at a solid 21 per cent growth, and the Middle East and Africa maintained healthy trends at close to 17 per cent despite disappointing desktop growth in some countries.

Desktop sales suffered, as anticipated, from limited business refresh cycle activity, while in the consumer space, the continued demand for portables, assisted by increasingly attractive price points, continued to prevent a rebound in consumer desktop demand.

"While some European countries were strongly hit by slowing demand and inventory levels, continued traction for notebooks in the consumer and SMB space, driven by increasingly attractive price points and product value propositions and the preparation of the forthcoming back-to-school season, maintained a strong cushion for growth in many other countries in western Europe," said Elsa Opitz, research manager for IDC's EMEA PC Tracker.

"Vendors clearly continued to compete fiercely in the portable space, with many continuing to post healthy growth results."

HP maintained a solid leadership in EMEA with overall growth at 5.6 per cent. Dell continued to outpace market growth and consolidate its second position in EMEA.

Acer maintained pressure in the notebook market and continued to grow its desktop shipments across EMEA.

Fujitsu Siemens held well in fourth position, despite another soft quarter affected by the market situation, slowing demand and the World Cup in particular in Germany.

Toshiba maintained its fifth position in the overall EMEA ranking thanks to another outstanding quarter at 36.5 per cent, the highest growth among the top five vendors.
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