Brexit-related uncertainty affects European PC sales in Q1

Volume sales of PCs through Western European distributors were down 2.4% in Q1 2019 compared to last year, reveals the latest report from Context.

The report shows that consumer demand remained weak throughout the first quarter. Another factor was the continuing tight supply of Intel chips.

Consumer PC sales declined by 11.3% as people continue to shift towards using smartphones for day-to-day tasks and “see little reason to buy new machines”, reported Context, which also found that Notebook sales dropped by 12.1% while those of desktops were down 7.6%.

“The general fall was exacerbated by the effects of political and economic conditions in some of countries: for instance, in the UK, where consumer confidence is low amidst Brexit-related uncertainty, consumer PC sales dropped by 17.6%,” said Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at Context.

As in the past few quarters, the situation was much healthier in the commercial segment. Business PC volume sales were 4.6% up on last year, driven by the end of Windows 7 support in early 2020 and the need to modernise workplaces. Sales of notebooks increased by 6.6% and desktops by 0.6%. The increase in workstation sales, which has been ongoing for quite some time now, continued with a 11.3% growth in mobile systems and a 4.9% increase in sales of stationary ones.

The tightness of Intel’s chip supply has led to greater fluctuations in distributor stock movement over the past few quarters as vendors try to steer demand to match available supply, says Context.

Some vendors have also added more AMD-based PCs to their portfolios to provide an alternative offering and, as a result, the overall share of AMD-based PCs this quarter was up to 6.7% of commercial sales and 14.7% of consumer PCs – an increase of 2.5 percentage points year-on-year in each case.

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