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European PC Market Dynamics Unchanged in Early 2020

Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at CONTEXT

The market dynamics that characterised PC sales in 2019 continued into early 2020 as strong demand from commercial buyers offset weaker consumer sales, according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company. Volume sales of PCs through Western Europe’s largest distributors were up by +7% year-on-year in January 2020, driven by a +15% growth in sales of commercial PCs. As the business sector continued to invest in new PC hardware during the few weeks before and after the end of Microsoft’s Windows 7 support on 14 January, commercial notebooks sales were up by +5% and those of desktops by +38%. The number of workstations sold also increased: stationary systems by +21.5%, and mobile machines by +11.8%.

On the other hand, sales of consumer PCs remained weak with volumes falling by −4% in January 2020 compared to the same month last year. While there was growth in some areas – AMD-based PCs, ultra-slim portables and Chromebooks sold well – the volume bases in these parts of the market were too small to reverse the negative trend.

Intel processor supply gaps continued to have an impact on PC sales at the start of 2020 and are expected to remain an issue throughout the year.

The current coronavirus outbreak is also presenting a challenge to the industry”, said Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at CONTEXT. “While disruptions to the PC supply chain are inevitable, the extent of the impact will depend on how soon production levels in China revert to full capacity, and on how quickly the spread of the virus can be contained.” “In response to the present situation, vendors are expected to ramp up production in facilities outside China where possible, and the latest CONTEXT data on components suggests that channel players have started to stockpile PC parts while they are still available.

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