The only winner is Apple as consumers continue to turn away from Windows PCs.

UK PC sales ‘worst decline in five quarters’

New Gartner figures have revealed the sharpest yet decline in PC sales as the British market fell 19.6 per cent, even more than the Western European average of 16 per cent, in what Gartner called a the "worst decline in five quarters of PC sales in the UK."

Gartner said the UK was a "prime illustration" of a weakness in PC demand across Europe. "Despite aggressive pricing and special holiday deals for PCs, consumers’ attention was caught by other devices, such as smartphones, media tablets and e-readers," said Gartner analyst Meike Escherich.

All of the major PC vendors suffered with market leader HP down 27 per cent, Dell down 32 per cent and Toshiba down five per cent. In what is perhaps a sign of the times, the only growing player was Apple which despite the difficult trading conditions, grew 17.2 per cent.

Unlike recent data from Canalys, Gartner doesn’t count tablets as PCs so the Apple data relates to Apple desktop and notebook computers only.

"PC vendors face a long, uphill struggle to regain the interest of consumers. The introduction of Ultrabooks in late 2011 is desperately needed," said Gartner research chief Ranjit Atwal.

The sobering figures also highlight how importance of the launch of Windows 8 later in the year to rekindle consumer interest in the Wintel platform.

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