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Summary:

Gartner says the PC market is shrinking faster than expected in western Europe, and nowhere more so than in Britain. Readers of a sensitive disposition might want to look away now…

It’s no secret that the market for traditional PCs is shrinking as consumers turn to tablets for their essential web-surfing, document-editing needs. But sometimes we see a startling reminder of just how quickly that shift is happening in certain countries.

Take the UK. On Thursday the analyst house Gartner released figures for PC shipments in western Europe for the third quarter of this year. Overall there was a 12.8 percent decline, which is in line with the horror show we’ve come to expect, but turn to Britain and the year-on-year drop was 21.2 percent.

That’s partly due to tablets and partly because  manufacturers are being cautious about inventory while shifting to Intel’s shiny new Haswell and Bay Trail processors and the new Windows 8.1 release. But still. Here’s the chart:

Gartner UK PC sales Q3 2013

Note how Lenovo, which posted a 13 percent revenue jump on Thursday, is the only winner in the market. If you’re going to opt for a PC it’s quite likely for the typing, and Lenovo makes great keyboards. An exec from a certain large x86 chip house also whispered to me recently that Lenovo’s Yoga convertibles are, along with Microsoft’s Surface Pro, the only devices of their type that are selling strongly.

Gartner’s figures take in all PCs using x86 architecture, including non-RT Windows 8 tablets, for what that’s worth. No Chromebooks were included, which is interesting. Chromebooks may be mostly based on ARM processors and unable to run Windows, but go to Amazon UK and you’ll see them topping the popularity list in the laptop department – to the average consumer, they just look like very cheap PCs.

Anyway, here’s what Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal had to say in a statement:

“Eleven of the previous 12 quarters also showed decline in the UK PC market. Overall, we expect the PC market in the UK to remain weak in the fourth quarter of 2013.”

How weak? Well, Atwal said earlier in the statement that the western European PC market was “declining faster than expected,” so things may soon get even uglier for the PC industry.

  1. It’s really so too scary…………Techvedic

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  2. These numbers dont take into account customs built PCs and companies that build them for you.

    People are waking up to the fact that 80% of Dell/HP etc PCs are crap and bad value for money.

    The market is declining but not at the pace you think.

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    1. actually, they must be included in the “others”, which form about 40% of all PCs shipped in Europe.

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  3. “PC shipments in the professional PC market declined by 8.3 percent, while the consumer PC market decreased by 17.1 percent. ” – for Western Europe

    That’s the more interesting part

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  4. Still waiting for a resurgence in desktops. I still don’t get why, given a choice, people would use a tablet or mobile phone device over a laptop/desktop.

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    1. Most folks are realizing all they use their home PC for is web browsing, email and videos. Why shell out for a desk top or laptop just to do that when a $229 Nexus 7 for example can do all that and is portable?

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      1. don’t forget –

        they have longer battery life

        they are MORE portable than any PC

        no additional s/w NEEDED to do basic tasks and if needed, free versions are available include media editing apps, document editing

        convenience of use – most service providers created native apps for their service on the tablets, instead of having to type in to a browser.

        No printers needed – carry the device around instead of printing something to carry. No scanner/copier needed as cameras have replaced them !

        Much, much more.

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    2. One factor to consider is the that UK is notoriously high cost even in comparison to France, Germany and Scandinavian countries. I have observed that the PC replacement cycle was already five years in the 2000’s (was 3 years in most developed countries, stretched to 5 years in Great Recession and since) so for commercial users, it would not be a surprise if that is now 7 years UK/5 years rest-of-EU (given the plateau in specs).

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  5. hamid al obaidi Thursday, November 7, 2013

    Risky

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