European PC market now driven by notebook sales
Sales of notebook PCs are growing, while sales of desktop PCs are shrinking. According to IDC, some 23.5 million computers were sold in the first quarter of 2008 in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, which is equivalent to 19 per cent sales growth over Q1 2007. All of this sales growth is the result of the growing popularity of notebooks. While sales of desktop PCs fell by 1.7 per cent to approximately 10.5 million items, sales of notebooks grew by 43 per cent to 13 million items.
Sales to home users grew especially fast. In this market segment, the share of notebooks in total sales has now reached 70 per cent. In Q1 2008, sales of desktop PCs on the Western European consumer market fell by 22 per cent over Q1 2007. In the same comparative timeframe, sales of notebooks grew by 35 per cent. Sales in the business segment are developing along the same lines, though the switch to mobile computers is somewhat slower. Whereas Western European companies purchased roughly the same number of desktop computers as in Q1 2007, sales of notebooks grew by nearly 31 per cent.
The ratio of mobile computers to stationary ones differs, however, across Western Europe. In Norway and Portugal desktop computers make up less than 20 per cent of the consumer market and only 36 per cent of the B2B market. The situation is much different though in Greece and France. Here, notebooks only make up 65 per cent of the consumer market and far less than 50 per cent of the business segment. Germany comes in near the average, with business customers buying notebooks 53 per cent of the time and consumers purchasing mobile computers 66 per cent of the time.