Slow growth in the shipment of PCs in Europe held back global sales in the second quarter of the year, though they did manage to grow by 9.7 percent year-on-year, according to market research group IDC.
IDC (Framingham, MA.) says there were other unexpected twists in regional performance. Inventory from the first quarter and distractions from the World Cup significantly cut into European growth with shipments increasing by roughly 7 percent year on year compared to twice that in the prior quarter and a forecast of 12 percent.
The researchers say the shift to portables across the region quickened, while growth of both desktops and portables declined notably from previous quarters.
Shipments in the U.S. increased by 6.7 percent, slightly ahead of forecasts, partly due to aggressive competition among the market leaders following slower growth the prior two quarters. Latin America and Asia/Pacific excluding Japan also saw strong growth in the quarter, while growth in Japan was slower than expected.
Acer continued to gain share worldwide while Fujitsu Siemens struggled in its core markets, according to IDC. Dell improved on its first quarter performance, growing U.S. shipments roughly in line with the market and gaining share worldwide. HP had another strong quarter in the U.S. but the slow market in Europe constrained overall growth to 13 percent from more than 23 percent the prior quarter. "We continue to see aggressive competition as the market transitions to a new phase," said Loren Loverde, director of IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. "In addition to changing regional dynamics, we can expect to see heightened competition in the second half of the year as companies vie for growth.
Aggressive competition between processor vendors and the delayed release of Windows Vista will contribute to the changes vendors face entering the next cycle in the PC market."
Also reporting on PC shipments for the second quarter, Gartner Inc. said worldwide shipments were 54.9 million, up 11 percent on the same period last year.
Gartner (Stamford, Conn.) also said the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region had a poor quarter, with single digit growth for the first time in three years. Shipments in the second quarter were put at 16.7 million units, or 7 percent of the total, the same increase as reported by IDC.
Gartner suggested the slower growth may also have had something to do with manufacturers and sales channels trying to ensure they achieved compliance with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) recycling regulations that came into force this month.
Gartner also said processor inventory clearance activity by Intel, and generally more aggressive pricing by Intel and AMD attributed to lower prices in the quarter. It suggested the impact of the CPU price decline varied among regions. In the U.S. and Asia/Pacific, the cuts boosted shipments, while in Europe and EMEA as a whole, where there remains higher than normal finished goods inventory, shipments were adversely impacted.