Spanish PC Market Set to Continue on a Downward Trend in 2012, Says IDC

London, (PresseBox) - The Spanish PC market contracted less than previously estimated in the fourth quarter of 2011 (4Q11), with shipments declining by 24.8% year over year, driven by improved performance in the consumer market as inventory was no longer a brake for sell-in and product availability was not significantly impacted by hard disk drive shortages. Total PC shipments for the full year 2011 reached four million units, which represents a 33.7% contraction compared to 2010.

The consumer segment remained negative, albeit declining less than anticipated by 19.5% in 4Q11, and closed the year with a 37% contraction compared to 2010. The first half of the year was adversely impacted by weak sell-in following the accumulation of large amounts of stock across the retail and distribution channels. By the end of 3Q11, inventory levels returned to normal, hence sell-in in 4Q11 was stronger. Moreover, the impact of the HDD supply shortage was less than expected as vendors gave priority to the fulfillment of retail orders. Nevertheless, consumer demand in 4Q11 remained weak and did not take off until close to the holidays and was boosted by low prices. In addition, PC budgets suffered from continued rivalry from other electronic devices such as media tablets (113% growth year over year), ereaders (37% growth year over year) and smartphones (24% growth year over year), which enjoyed a more positive momentum in the run-up to Christmas.

The commercial PC market performed in line with expectations, falling by 33.4% in 4Q11 and closing the full year 2011 with a decline of 27.9% versus 2010. The sovereign debt crisis and the general election scheduled for late November put many decisions on hold. The austerity package approved by the former government together with downsizing operations and difficulty accessing credit led to a slowdown in PC demand. The enterprise segment suffered a deceleration in 4Q11, impacted by an unfavorable year-on-year comparison and HDD supply constraints, with some vendors having difficulty meeting client requests, which led to delays particularly in the desktop category. The SMB segment continued on a downward spiral, accumulating six quarters of decline, as there were no signs of recovery. The government segment remained constrained by the austerity budget, while the education segment suffered a sharp decline due to larger shipments to the Escuela 2.0 program a year ago, which were further reduced in 4Q11.

"The outlook for the Spanish PC market remains bleak and IDC predicts further contraction in 2012 by 15.8% in unit terms and an even stronger decline of 17.3% in value terms as both consumer and commercial segments will remain adversely impacted," said Beatriz Martin, research analyst in IDC's EMEA Personal Computing group.

"Consumer PC shipments are forecast to fall by 17% in 2012, as market conditions will still be very tough for consumers in Spain following the additional austerity measures and the labor market reform approved by the government," said Martin. Consumers are getting used to the crisis climate, but social unrest spreads and confidence remains low. Consumer demand is expected to remain lackluster in 1H12, and beyond the HDD supply shortage, a further shift in spending to media tablets and smartphones is likely to inhibit stronger sell-in, while 2Q-3Q may be further impacted by budget cannibalization by televisions, due to the Olympic Games in August. In addition, users are likely to adopt a wait-and-see attitude prior to the launch of Windows 8 and a plethora of thin and light devices at more affordable prices in 2H12. This should provide a much needed boost to consumer PC demand and stimulate renewals that have been postponed since mid-2010.

"Commercial PC shipments are forecast to fall by 14% in 2012, as a large part of the IT budget is expected to go to datacenters and services, to the detriment of PCs," said Martin.

In addition the urgent need to increase productivity will put the focus on reducing costs and both investments and employment will continue to suffer. The enterprise segment is expected to continue to decline in the first half of the year, but PC rollouts are predicted to accelerate in the second half, recovering from HDD-associated delays and postponed renewals. IDC expects another year of decline in the SMB market as weak domestic demand and lack of access to credit will continue to suffocate the small and midsized companies and constrain IT investments. In addition, the large number of insolvencies over the past years has decimated the number of SMBs, leading to a shrinking customer base. Budget cuts will continue to constrain public sector demand throughout 2012. The future of the education program, Escuela 2.0, is uncertain due to the current environment of austerity measures and changes in regional governments.

IDC Central Europe GmbH

IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries worldwide. For more than 48 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting www.idc.com.

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