Notebook sales drive fourth quarter EMEA PC growth

Fourth quarter 2005 PC shipments in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region hit 22.3 million according to preliminary data released by research house IDC. Strong notebook sales and healthy consumer demand helped drive unit sales up 19% year-on-year.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  January 20, 2006

Fourth quarter 2005 PC shipments in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region hit 22.3 million according to preliminary data released by research house IDC. Strong notebook sales and healthy consumer demand helped drive unit sales up 19% year-on-year. Once again, the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region showed the strongest growth rate in EMEA, with unit sales rocketing 38% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2005, driven by increased investment in IT infrastructure and strong demand for notebook PCs. In comparison, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) shipments climbing 25% and Western Europe recording 16% year-on-year growth in the fourth quarter. “The final quarter of the year performed as expected, driven by intense marketing activity during the Christmas season and continued portable adoption, and provided a nice finish to the year, boosting EMEA shipments ahead of the US market levels for the first time,” said Karine Paoli, research director for IDC’s EMEA PC group. “Consumer demand for notebooks remained unabated, assisted by aggressive price points in the retail channel and there is no sign of slowing down in 2006,” she added. Despite the healthy growth in unit shipments, pricing pressure remained intense across all channels, meaning that vendor growth in value terms remained subdued. On the form factor front, notebooks easily outstripped the overall PC market growth, recording a year-on-year increase of 40%. According to IDC, consumers responded well to aggressive notebook price points. The research house also pointed out that high channel inventory levels since November also boosted fourth quarter sales as sellout became a top priority. Desktop sales edged up 9% year-on-year with demand for digital entertainment systems and attractive bundle offers helping to stimulate consumer desktop purchases and renewals, according to IDC. The commercial desktop sector remained sluggish, hit by slowing business refresh activity. “Expansion in the Central Europe and Middle East and Africa PC markets continued at a vigorous pace, with robust double-digit growth recorded across the entire region. Poland and Ukraine recorded particularly strong performances while Russia, the largest market, maintained solid growth above 20%. Growth of 38% in MEA markets was boosted by an outstanding quarter in Turkey and continued investment in the Middle East countries,” said IDC’s Elsa Opitz, research manager, EMEA PC Tracker. HP maintained EMEA top spot thanks in part to strong notebook sales in both the consumer and commercial segments and an effective channel strategy, according to IDC. In total, HP’s unit shipments in EMEA hit 2.93 million units — a market share of 15.7%. However, HP did feel some heat in the commercial desktop space from second placed vendor Dell, which maintained its aggressive customer acquisition strategy across all segments. Dell unit shipments hit 1.86 million — a 33.7% increase year-on-year. Acer maintained its strong sales momentum in EMEA, recording the fastest year-on-year growth rate of the top five vendors. Notebook sales continued to propel Acer forward with buoyant sales in CEE and MEA also playing their part. Acer’s total unit shipments climbed 44.3% year-on-year to 1.52 million — 8.1% of the total addressable market. Fujitsu Siemens maintained fourth spot in EMEA, helped by solid notebook sales and strong demand in the consumer space, driven in part by the vendor’s focus on mobility solutions and the digital home. Fifth placed NEC (including the Packard Bell brand) saw its unit shipments jump up 40.9% to 746,000 units in the fourth quarter. Packard Bell’s strong presence in the European retail channel helped to drive sales. Despite some success in terms of its international expansion, the vendor has so far failed to make a meaningful impact in the Middle East market. Lenovo slipped to sixth spot despite the introduction of new ThinkPad models that helped sustain the vendor’s performance in the notebook space. The top five vendors accounted for 50.5% of total EMEA unit shipments in the fourth quarter, down from 55% a year earlier. This change is significant, indicating that vendors outside the top five gained more market share. It is clear that competition will continue to intensify in the EMEA notebook space during 2006. Vendors such as Toshiba, Apple and Sony all recorded strong results in the fourth quarter as did Asus, Samsung and BenQ. All these players will look to make further inroads and boost their market share in EMEA during 2006 making even more intense pricing pressure likely.

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