PC shipments continue to fall in Western Europe

PC shipments in Western Europe continue to plummet for the fourth consecutive quarter, with 16.3 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011, which is a 16 percent decrease from Q4 2010. Shipments totaled 58.5 million units in all of 2011, which is also 16 percent decrease from the same time period in 2010, reported research and advisory firm Gartner.

The United Kingdom not only saw its fifth consecutive quarterly shipment drop, but also the worst decline in those five quarters. In 2011, the UK market shrank by 15.9 percent, losing almost 2 million units compared to 2010.

In France, the PC market suffered its sixth consecutive quarterly shipment decline with total PC shipments for 2011 adding up to 10.4 million units, which is a 12 percent decrease from 2010.

HP managed to hold onto its position as leading PC vendor in Western Europe despite a 15.7 decrease in Q4 2011. HP even increased its lead over second-place Acer, which dropped a hefty 46.1 percent year over year in the fourth quarter of 2011.

It's not bad news for everybody, though, with Apple making big growth in both the United Kingdom and France, increasing 17.2 percent and 15.3 percent in those respective countries year over year in Q4 2011. Of the top five PC vendors in the UK, only Apple managed to increase its shipments. In France, Apple's growth was bested by Asus, the only other top five PC vendor to enjoy positive movement, with 17.4 percent growth from Q4 2011. It should perhaps be noted that Apple's big gains as tracked by Gartner do not include shipments of the iPad, unlike those of Canalys, another research firm.

"The UK market has been a prime illustration of the underlying weakness in PC demand across Western Europe," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. "PC vendors face a long, uphill struggle to regain the interest of consumers. The introduction of Ultrabooks in late 2011 is desperately needed."

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