In the doldrums: Year of gloom for pc sector

Data confirming how the EMEA PC market stood up to the economic downturn last year has just been released, but if you belong to one of the leading PC and notebook producers it might just make for uncomfortable viewing.

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In the doldrums: Year of gloom for pc sector
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By  Andrew Seymour Published  March 4, 2010 Channel Middle East Logo

By the end of last year, an EMEA PC market that was worth more than 102 million units just 12 months before had shrunk by 5% to around 96.5 million units as the onslaught of the global economic downturn took its toll on computer sales.

The scale of the drop might not seem substantial in the grand scheme of things, but for an industry that has consistently risen to the challenge of exceeding the previous year’s performance, it still remains a painful blow to take.

Some vendors felt the pain more than others, with those exposed to the commercial sector finding the going particularly tough. Preliminary data just made public by IDC reveals that out of the top five PC vendors in EMEA, Dell recorded the biggest slump in unit sales as volumes plummeted 15% — three times that of the overall rate of the market — to 9.2 million units.

A 2% rise in sales during the fourth quarter indicates the US-based vendor might be returning to better form, although the results did little to put a shine on the full-year numbers.

Back in 2008, Dell trailed second-place Acer by less than six percentage points — 10.7% to 16.4% to be precise — but that gap was widened massively last year and will take a real turnaround in fortunes to close. Dell’s market share for 2009 stood at 9.6%. Acer’s, in contrast, was twice as much.

To understand why you only have to look at how the Taiwanese mobile PC vendor managed to attain growth in a declining market. Aggressive promotions in the low-end and SMB segments saw its sales rocket by 16%, sending out a message that its ambition of reaching the number one spot may not be as far-fetched as it sounds.

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