European PC Market Searches for Bottom, While Apple, Asus Soar
The downward trend in European PC sales has left Apple’s Mac entirely unscathed. In fact, the Mac appears to have benefited from it.
According to the latest metrics from Gartner, Mac shipments to Western Europe were up 19.6 percent in the third quarter, a period that saw an 11.4 percent decline across the broader market.
PC shipments in Western Europe totaled 14.8 million units in the third quarter of 2011, an 11.4 percent decline from the same period last year, according to Gartner. Among the top five PC makers, only Apple and Asus resisted that downward spiral, which slowed Hewlett-Packard’s growth by 7.5 percent, Dell’s by 10 percent and Acer’s by a gruesome 45.1 percent.
A similar scene played out in the U.K., though there it was Apple and Samsung that led the market with year-over-year growth of 21.8 percent and 39 percent, respectively. Again, the broader market suffered a nasty decline, seeing growth slip by 11 percent year over year, and HP, Dell and others all suffered for it. The third quarter was particularly nasty for Acer, which saw its U.K. sales plummet by 53.1 percent.
Keep in mind, we’re talking about the third quarter here, traditionally a strong one driven by back-to-school sales.
So what’s behind the decline? Hard to say. Gartner theorizes that one factor is consumer confidence that’s been beaten into submission by disheartening economic issues. That certainly makes sense, though it doesn’t really explain the performance of Apple, Asus and Samsung, which all defied the downward trend. That they were able to grow PC shipments during such a time suggests there’s some significant competive rebalancing going on in the market right now.