Mixed fortunes

Consumers prop up flagging corporate sales

Tags: ASUSTeK Computer IncorporatedAcer Computer Middle EastDell CorporationHP Middle EastPC ShipmentsToshiba CorporationUnited Arab Emirates
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Mixed fortunes SOURCE: Canalys estimates.
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By  Andrew Seymour Published  December 12, 2009 Channel Middle East Logo

The PC market's hopes of a recovery are firmly pinned to the consumer sector if the latest sales activity in the EMEA region is anything to go by. Although overall third quarter PC shipments declined 8% year-on-year, research house Canalys reports that the consumer segment rose 15% on the previous year.

News of consumer buoyancy will come as a relief to vendors that have seen the corporate segment drastically reduce IT expenditure this year. 56% of all PC transactions were made by home-users between July and September, according to Canalys.

It is little surprise that with consumers accounting for a larger portion of the market than usual, vendors such as Acer and Apple were two of the main beneficiaries. Apple continued to gain ground by winning the custom of affluent buyers content to pay premium prices, while Acer made considerable progress in the netbook and notebook sectors, where it succeeded in driving ticket prices downwards.

In fact, Acer was the only top-five PC manufacturer to record unit growth in EMEA during the third quarter, taking it five percentage points clear of HP to keep it firmly in the driving seat. The Taiwan-based vendor's 12% growth was a result of it selling more than 6.6 million PCs in the third quarter.

While Acer had most reason to celebrate, Canalys insists HP, Asus and Samsung all performed "relatively well" given the circumstances - the latter two profiting from their volume escapades in the netbook space. The analyst company tips HP to regain share once businesses start spending again, particularly as the US-based technology giant has quickly found its stride in the netbook category and remains an important supplier to the retail market.

In contrast, vendors that have been focused on selling to the corporate market, such as Dell, Lenovo and Fujitsu, have been struggling for form. Dell's unit sales, for instance, plummeted 18% compared with the same quarter last year.

Natalie Spitz, senior analyst at Canalys, says that depressed conditions in the corporate sector remain a concern, irrespective of the positive consumer sentiment. "While it is good to see that consumers are buying PCs, we cannot say the same for the business segment," she said. "Companies, especially larger ones, have simply called a halt to PC purchasing. They are replacing machines that have been lost or stolen, but are not buying anything else."

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