IDC Report for Europe Confirms Lower PC Sales in 2012, Lost Sales

IDC reported earlier this week that PC shipments in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) contracted again in the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12) by 10.7% compared to the same quarter in 2011.

Total PC sales in the EMEA region in 2012 were 105.6 million units, falling by 1.6% compared with 2011. Portable PC shipments remained almost flat, declining by -0.8% during the year while desktops fell by -2.9%.

Maciej Gornicki, Senior Research Analyst, IDC EMEA Personal Computing, noted;

“As expected, PC sales remained constrained across EMEA in 4Q12 as consumer demand concentrated further on tablets during the holiday season, and despite the launch of Windows 8 and new designs which did not provide the hoped upturn effect. As a result, notebook sales continued to display negative trends in the last quarter of the year, with a decline by -12.8% of portable PC shipments in EMEA in 4Q12.”

Europe, in the midst of economic gloom, saw sales crater by 12.5% compared with the fourth quarter of 2011. The Nordics and the UK showed healthier results as expected, but demand in Germany remained soft.

Southern Europe suffered the most economically and this led to a big shift towards cheaper tablets and phones. Central and Eastern Europe, including Russia, suffered a drop of 13.6%, but the Middle East and Africa (MEA) did better, with sales falling only 0.6%.

Chrystelle Labesque, Research Manager, EMEA Personal Computing commented on the slow sales, saying;

“Retailers and distributors across the region remained cautious when taking new orders in order to avoid any inventory build-up fearing weak consumer sales during Christmas and anticipating on Windows 8 transition.”

Windows 8 and did little to boost demand in the region and the confusion over Windows RT and multiple form factors put potential buyers into a holding pattern. In addition, the high price points of Windows 8 convertibles and the Surface resulted in unspectacular sales of these products.

As is no secret to most people, tablets and smartphones are unmistakably taking sales away from PCs and notebooks, a trend that is likely to continue in 2013. The IDC sales table is shown below.

Top 5 Vendors: Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) PC Shipments*, 4Q12 (Preliminary) (000 Units) 

Vendor 4Q11 Shipments 4Q12 Shipments 4Q11 Share 4Q12 Share 4Q12/4Q11 Growth
Hewlett-Packard 6,021 5,605 19.50% 20.30% -6.90%
Lenovo 2,444 3,069 7.90% 11.10% 25.50%
Acer Group 3,547 2,756 11.50% 10.00% -22.30%
ASUS 3,276 2,706 10.60% 9.80% -17.40%
Dell 3,299 2,472 10.70% 8.90% -25.10%
Others 12,362 11,024 39.80% 39.90% -10.80%
Total 30,949 27,632 100.00% 100.00% -10.70%

A few points to note. While HP remained the largest seller of PCs in the region, Lenovo stands out for its 25.5% sales growth.  All other vendors, save HP, suffered from double digit sales declines.

Note also that according to IDC, globally, PC sales fell by 3.2%, meaning that Europe and the EMEA region did worse than the rest of the world, with a 10.7% sales decline.

These are also the same countries where low-cost tablets are proliferating.  There may be another story there worth digging into.  What do you think?