German notebook sales booming

Germany: Buoyant economy and strength of the Euro drive market up 44 per cent
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An improvement in the German economy coupled with the rising strength of the Euro has contributed to a 44 per cent year-on-year increase in sales of mobile computers.

Despite the prevalence of notebooks causing a drop in demand for desktop hardware, the PC market as a whole has also seen a 17.4 per cent increase in sales.

Market researchers IDC note that German households and small businesses seem to be taking advantage of aggressive price cuts and the increased spending power of the Euro, while vendors pursue a go-to-market strategy to target SMB's with dedicated services and products.

This continues a trend across Europe with notebook sales driving year-on-year growth in the PC hardware sector.

Researchers Gartner have reported an 11.2 per cent growth in the British PC retail market for the first quarter of 2008, fuelled by a 40 per cent growth in laptop sales. Over 60 per cent of the 3.1 million units shipped in the UK last quarter were notebooks.

UK based market analysts Context have noted growth in a number of European countries, with France, Spain and Sweden showing gains of between 30 and 40 per cent in 2005.

Now after two years of slower growth, the German market appears to be catching up.

One of the main factors in this growth has been the growing strength of the Euro, especially when compared with the US Dollar. This makes Europe a very attractive market for American hardware vendors.

Another stimulant for market growth has been the drop in production costs for solid-state hard drives and the ongoing rivalry between microprocessor vendors AMD and Intel, which has seen the retail prices of notebook technology plummet.

Analysts say this has contributed to many European businesses taking advantage of low costs to bring their office hardware in to the 21st century.

An additional factor is that mobile computing and telecommunications are increasingly seen as the 'green' and cost effective alternative in the EU – particularly in local government, which has traditionally been a bastion of paper filing and fax machines.

Lucie Jichova of IDC predicts continued growth in the German PC market, saying: "Overall PC shipments are expected to grow by 11.9 per cent in 2008 in unit terms."

Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst at Gartner predicts continued growth in Europe to be driven by notebook sales: "While the PC market is not immune to an economic downturn, continued strong mobile penetration helps to sustain robust growth."

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