Overall UK retail sales remain flat but notebooks perform strongly

‘Black Friday created a lull in spending’ – how PC sales fared over Christmas 2014

Gartner has released its PC market share/sales figures for 2014 and Q4 – including both global and EMEA figures – while the BRC has revealed UK retail’s Christmas performance.

PC shipments in EMEA reached 26.5 million units in Q4 2014, a 2.8 per cent increase from the same period last year (with HP, Lenovo, Acer, Asus and Dell the top five vendors).

Worldwide PC shipments totalled 83.7 million units in Q4 2014, a one per cent increase year-on-year. Overall, Gartner reckons total 2014 PC shipments reached 315 million units, led by Lenovo, and followed by HP, Dell, Acer and Asus.

This is a positive direction for the PC market which has previously suffered more than two years of decline.

"The slight growth in EMEA was driven by Western Europe’s strong consumer notebook shipments during the holiday season," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. "The low prices were enough to attract consumer attention away from Android devices, but had a negative impact on average selling prices and vendor margins."

Two-in-one hybrid devices performed particularly well, with users replacing some older tablets and notebooks with these new devices. This category is also predicted to show the biggest volume increase in 2015.

However, the news comes as overall UK retail sales declined by 0.4 per cent in December 2014 year-on-year – the slowest December growth since December 2008. Non-food sales rose seven per cent.

"It’s now clear that Black Friday 2014 did pull festive sales forward into November, and this created a challenging lull in spending with consumers waiting for future bargains," said David McCorquodale, Head of Retail at KPMG.

"This situation did not reverse until the week of Christmas. The launch of Boxing Day sales mixed with new season full price stock saw some phenomenal spending.

"Extensive discounting disrupted the timing and rhythm of Christmas spending. Between Black Friday and Boxing Day retailers and consumers engaged in a three week dance, each waiting for the other to take the lead and as a result sales suffered."

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