European consumers ditch desktops for tablets -

A lack of consumer demand seriously affected PC sales for the first quarter of 2011.

That's according to research outfit Context, which has said the poor performance has meant that Europe's major distributors, retailers and resellers only saw a 40 percent demand for PCs in both the home and business space.

The UK saw a 7.7 percent slump in the quarter, worse than the European average of 2.9 percent for the period.

The overall European market was suffering as a result of a decline in consumer demand. Consumer oriented PC sales across Europe fell 16.5 percent in the first quarter of the year, but the UK had fared worse because it was far more dependent on consumer demand. 

Europe could have fared a lot worse it if hadn't been for the strong PC market in Germany. Context said that this was as a result of business buying.

When it comes to the netbook market the news is not so good, with sales falling by 5.8 percent in the first quarter compared to last year. Context believes this is because consumers have fallen out of love with the products and as a result unit sales were down 25.6 percent compared to last year.

Tablet computers on the other hand, are increasingly desired - with sales rising by a huge 910 percent in the quarter.

The outlook in Western Europe was also a bit better with Context claiming that  performance across Europe's top five economies accounted for 70 percent of the region's total.

Germany and France were ahead in PC sales, up year-on-year for the first quarter by 12.5 percent and 1.5 percent respectively. Britain saw sales slump by 7.7 percent. Italy was worse, down 10.4 percent, while demand in Spain fell by 27 percent.

The analyst company said that if sales did not improve we could see a case of too many PCs in the supply chain, which could lead to lower prices for consumers.