EMEA PC Market Remained Soft as Expected in 3Q12 Following a Strong Second Quarter and as Vendors Prepare for Win 8 Transition, says IDC

(PresseBox) ( LONDON, )
The PC market in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) remained constrained, as expected, in the third quarter, with PC shipments declining by 7.7% in 3Q12 compared with the same quarter last year, according to research by International Data Corporation (IDC). Following a strong 2Q, and as vendors prepare for the Win 8 transition, shipment levels were set to be moderate in July-August, and while September was boosted by the production of new Windows 8 systems in preparation for the launch end October, the channel remained cautious.

As expected, July and August saw weak sell-in levels, following a strong 2Q that had led to sizeable inventory in the channel to cover for the summer months while continued softness in consumer demand, prompted both vendors and channel partners not to over-stock and ensure lean inventory levels ahead of the Windows 8 transition. September sell-in picked up, however, and was strong, supported by the production of new Win 8 systems and an attractive new product lineup expected to hit the retail shelves end of October. However, continued economic pressure in the business segment and competition from other devices in the consumer space, kept the supply chain and channel cautious on new orders, and only partially offset the low sell-in levels at the beginning of the quarter.

From a demand standpoint, consumer demand remained soft during the back-to-school season, but business demand also slowed down during the quarter as enterprises' migrations and renewals slowed as expected, and SMB demand remained weak, directly impacted by continued economic pressure leading to cautious budget spending and restrained infrastructure investment.

"Directly impacted by the transition in the consumer space and slowing enterprise renewals which had been supporting growth over past quarters, Western Europe declined by 12.8% year-on-year," said Beatriz Martin, research analyst, IDC EMEA personal computing. "While Southern Europe remained the most constrained as expected by challenging economic conditions, demand also slowed in the countries which were holding up better so far, such as Germany or the Nordics, as the channel remained cautious. France and the U.K. held up better and in line with expectations at -2.5% and -6.3%, respectively."

"While the combined launch of attractive ultra slim notebooks and Windows 8 will be key to support revived traction in the consumer space and stimulate purchases, other devices with several launches expected in particular in the tablet space will continue to potentially compete for consumers' attention and budgets, prompting the channel to remain cautious and not over-commit to avoid any potential inventory built up in the Christmas quarter," said Maciej Gornicki, research analyst, IDC EMEA personal computing.

Similarly impacted by a strong vendor push and inventory built up in 2Q, shipment levels in CEE were also constrained and declined, albeit more moderately by 1.0% year on year, while growth in the Middle East and Africa region also fell slightly short of expectations and declined by 1.9%.

"While the quarter was supported by healthy consumer demand during the back-to-school period, the PC market in the CEE region declined by 1.0% year-on-year, primarily impacted by a decline in desktop shipments, while portable PC growth remained positive, albeit limited to 5.7% as high inventory built up in key countries such as Russia prevented stronger sell-in levels during the quarter," said Stefania Lorenz, research director, IDC CEMA. "Growth in the Middle East and Africa region was also slightly below forecast at -1.9% as vendors concentrated on minimizing inventory levels before the Win 8 launch, which combined with ongoing cannibalization from tablets, have hindered growth in the region."

Vendor Highlights

HP maintained a strong leadership in EMEA despite a decline in shipments, impacted by slowing business demand and the transition in the consumer space in Western Europe, while performance was also constrained in the Middle East. However, the vendor performed well in the CEE region, where it was less impacted by inventory in 2Q, and focused on preparing its new line up for the Win 8 launch and working closely with the channel.

Acer recorded a softer performance this quarter, as the vendor focused on ensuring leaner inventory levels in the channel after a strong push in 2Q, constraining shipment levels in the first two months. The vendor caught up strongly in September, however, preparing the ground for the Win 8 transition and an aggressive product line up and attractive new ultra slim in particular for the end of October.

Lenovo recorded outstanding growth this quarter and took third position in the overall EMEA ranking. The vendor continued to drive solid growth and share gains across all subregions, driven by continued expansion in the consumer space in Western Europe, while continuing to drive robust expansion in CEE as well as in the Middle East and Africa.

Asus returned to fourth position with a soft performance directly impacted by the push and high inventory levels built in Western. Europe and CEE in 2Q. The vendor recorded a strong performance in the MEA region, however, preparing like all other vendors for the transition to Windows 8 with an attractive portable PC line up, while continuing to grow and gain share in the desktop space.

Dell dropped to fifth place, directly impacted by slowing commercial demand and aggressive competition across all segments, and continued to suffer in particular in the consumer space. The vendor held sustained positions in the commercial space, performing in line with overall market growth, but faces aggressive competition from the other vendors.

Beyond the top 5, Samsung maintained sixth position, despite weak performance in Western Europe, and continued to grow in the CEE and MEA regions. Toshiba also maintained a solid seventh position in the EMEA ranking, with overall growth constrained by market conditions, but recording strong performance in several countries across the region such as the U.K. and in the Middle East. Apple and Sony maintained strong positions in the consumer space, though in line with soft demand overall, while Fujitsu gained ninth place, though its performance was softer this quarter following the business market slow down.
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