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Mobile PCs Continue Strong Revenue Performance in Q3 but Falter Compared to 2020

Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at CONTEXT
Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at CONTEXT

European sales through distribution for tablets and notebooks trended significantly higher than 2019 figures in Q3, but desktops continued to struggle to recover to 2019 levels, according to the latest data from CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

CONTEXT’s Index Revenue Trend shows mobile PCs trending significantly higher than 2019 figures for the whole of 2021 year-to-date, and ticking up at the end of the third quarter. However, they recorded a year-on-year drop in revenue sales of 4% (notebooks) and 7% (tablets) due to strong 2020 comparatives. The exceptional performance last year was driven by rapid growth in remote working and studying, and government investment in the education sector.

Desktop revenue sales recorded a small improvement at the end of Q3 but overall have trended below 2019 figures all year so far. However, recent year-on-year recovery has come in some countries such as Italy, the UK and France on the back of strong declines in 2020.

Education ups and downs

Government spending on school notebooks and tablets increased across Europe in 2020 as the pandemic struck and pupils were forced to take lessons at home”, said Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at CONTEXT. “However, performance and education mix was quite varied across the region. Very often, sales growth depended on individual deals, levels of funding and whether distribution was the main go-to-market route for education sales.

In the UK and Italy, current performance in the sector is below 2020 levels because of generous government investment last year. In the UK, centralised government funding promised to supply 1.4 million devices to schools, with a large proportion fulfilled through distribution and more still to come. Germany is trending in line with last year but the mix for the education sector is very low and there has been no significant rise in sales despite government funding.

Spain is also unusual in that it is trending strongly above 2020 despite last year also seeing strong performance. Whilst 2020 was dominated by larger education projects, we’re now seeing a raft of smaller deals. In Q3, revenue sales growth was driven by a vendor deal with a government agency.

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