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EMEA PC Market Regains Pace in 4Q09 as Mini Notebooks Continue to Drive Consumer Demand while Emerging Markets Recover, Says IDC

(PresseBox) (London, ) In line with expectations, the PC market in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa returned to positive growth in the fourth quarter of 2009. Supported by sustained consumer demand in the Christmas season and a return to positive dynamics in Central Eastern Europe, PC shipments recorded an increase of 3.5% year on year in 4Q09, in line with forecasts at 3.8%, according to preliminary data released on Monday by IDC EMEA. Growth for the year closed at -5.3% with nearly 97 million units shipped across the EMEA region in 2009.

The market continued to be driven by portable form factors, which maintained doubledigit trends at 13.7%, while desktop shipments contracted 13.3% Y/Y.

Desktop shipment levels remained constrained, directly impacted by continued weakness in the commercial segment, but improved from previous quarters. However, an explosion in the number of new allinone models in the consumer space stimulated consumer desktop sales, which, along with renewal cycles expected to pick up in the business space and emerging markets, will help drive healthier volume levels for desktops next year.

Dynamics in the portable PC market continued to be driven by consumer demand in the final quarter of the year. Traction for mini notebooks and lowpriced entrylevel systems continued unabated, with vendors deploying push across both retail and telco channels during the Christmas season. Demand levels were slightly under expectations for mainstream notebooks, however, despite the Windows 7 launch.

"With five million units shipped this Christmas season, the mini notebook market reached a volume of 14.5 million in 2009, representing an expansion of 110% compared to 2008," said Eszter Morvay, research manager, IDC EMEA personal computing. "Mini notebooks will remain hot in 2010, but growth is likely to display slightly lower doubledigit rates, as the renewal of mainstream notebooks gains pace. In addition, there will be new contenders like thin and light portables, smartbooks, and tabletbased devices to steal the limelight from mini notebooks and potentially stir up the competition in the coming quarters."

Western Europe continued to benefit from solid consumer demand in the Christmas quarter, driven by continued traction for mini notebooks as well as new allinone form factors, which provided a muchawaited boost in consumer desktop demand. But the business market remained constrained with both commercial desktop and portable shipments continuing to show decline, although improving from previous quarters, as businesses maintained cautious spending in the final quarter of the year.

The final quarter of the year marked a return to positive dynamics in Central Eastern Europe, with shipments recording an encouraging 10.1% increase after four quarters of market contraction. While several markets remained affected by continued economic pressure, the two largest markets - Russia and Ukraine - saw shipment levels resurge and benefited from favorable year on year comparisons after the market collapsed in 4Q08. Growth also returned to much stronger levels in the Middle East and Africa, with a solid 17% year on year driven by solid doubledigit growth in most Middle Eastern countries.

"After four bleak quarters, the Central and Eastern European PC market regained momentum in 4Q09, with shipments up 10.1% year on year to 5.8 million," said Stefania Lorenz, Systems and Infrastructure Solutions research director for IDC CEMA. "Notebook shipments were up 37.5% year on year in 4Q09, well above expectations, while desktop shipments contracted 16.0% as anticipated. PC shipments in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 17.5% year on year in the fourth quarter, driven by strong growth for portable PCs, up 57.5% compared with the same quarter last year. Despite the MEA region being less affected by the economic crisis in 2009, and strong growth in the notebook space, the overall Central and Eastern Europe and Middle East and Africa (CEMA) PC market contracted 14.0% year on year in 2009."

"While the EMEA PC market suffered like everywhere else from the global economic crisis in 2009, the buoyancy created by mini notebooks and rapid growth of the telco channel helped vendors to sustain strong consumer demand and partially offset market contraction," said Karine Paoli, associate vice president, IDC EMEA Systems and Infrastructure Solutions. "2010 will benefit not only from a rebound in business renewal cycles, but also continued recovery in the CEE region, while Windows 7 and new cheaper ultra portables will continue to stimulate purchases in the consumer space. Market conditions will remain tough as competition will maintain price pressure, but market expansion in both mature and emerging countries will offer vendors continued growth opportunities."

Vendor Highlights

HP regained first place in the EMEA ranking, despite a soft performance overall. The vendor faced stiff competition particularly in the portable PC market, but strengthened its leadership in the desktop space across both consumer and commercial segments, benefiting from a new commercial desktop lineup and additional allinone models in the consumer space. Overall, HP continued to drive solid execution in the consumer and commercial segments and also benefited directly from gradual market recovery in the emerging markets.

Acer slid back to second place, but continued to drive share consolidation in EMEA with aggressive promotions and push across both mini notebooks and mainstream notebooks. Aggressive offers on mainstream notebooks also assisted Acer to gain share across both consumer and SMB segments. In addition, the vendor has been actively expanding its product portfolio to offer a wide range of thin and light ultra portables as well as allinones for both consumer and commercial segments. The vendor also benefited from the recovery of volumes in the CEE region.

Dell enjoyed a rebound to positive growth in PC shipments, thanks to solid consumer demand across both form factors, leveraging from an extended product portfolio with new ultra portables and allinones. Like most players, the vendor remained affected by continued weakness in commercial demand. Continued expansion in terms of gotomarket and product will remain among the vendor's focuses in 2010.

Asus also returned to positive growth, supported by robust expansion in the CEMA region, while strong performance across key countries such as France, Germany, and Italy contributed to a rebound in Western Europe as well. Leveraging from the success of the Eee PC, Asus continued to push its Eee Top and Eee Box product lines as well, gaining good traction among consumers during the Christmas season.

Toshiba posted flat growth, directly impacted by further contraction in CEE, while facing a challenging competitive environment in Western Europe. However, the vendor reported increasing mini notebook volumes, thanks to its participation in a Spanish education program. Toshiba further expanded its consumer and commercial product lines with thin and light models, but was adversely impacted by component shortages.

Reinforcing its sixth position in the EMEA ranking, Lenovo reported solid growth again this quarter, driven by major expansion in the CEMA region, while posting positive growth in Western Europe, thanks to further inroads in the consumer segment. Samsung confirmed its seventh position, enjoying yet another buoyant quarter, leveraging from its mini notebook push and large footprint in the telco channel, while Apple and Sony also continued to deliver healthy performances, leveraging from a strong product lineup in the consumer space.

For more information on IDC's EMEA Quarterly PC Tracker or other IDC personal computing research services visit www.idc.com.

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IDC Central Europe GmbH

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