PC shipments in Western Europe decline -

The Western European PC shipment market declined in the first quarter of this year, a report by Gartner has found.

The analyst company said that PC shipments in this region totalled 15.5 million units in the first quarter of this year, which was a 3.1 percent decline compared with the equivalent period in 2011.

Those affected the worst were Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain. Gartner said the reason for the decline was as a result of consumers spending their cash on devices such as smartphones and media tablets over the traditional PC.

However, the professional PC market fared slightly better. Despite a decline of 2.5 percent in the first quarter of 2012, there was a better demand for replacement PCs as a result of increasing Windows 7 deployments.

Back to doom and gloom, the consumer PC market declined 3.8 percent year-on-year, while mobile PC shipments decreased 5.1 percent. There was a small glimmer of hope with desk-based PC shipments, driven by slightly better demand in the professional PC market, which grew by 0.3 percent.

In terms of vendors, HP remained top dog as a result of strong sales of professional PCs. It wasn't good news for Acer, which, despite remaining in second place, still seemed to be in transition and suffering from major management changes at a country level.

Asus bounded in at number three thanks to its variety of mobile PCs, while  Lenovo was the fastest-growing vendor with growth of 34.6 percent.

Gartner said Lenovo's decision to expand its consumer and business presence with an aggressive pricing strategy was paying off.

It also claimed that this quarter had a 'wait and see' feel to it, as many retailers were awaiting Intel's Ivy Bridge-based Ultrabooks and the arrival of Windows 8-based PCs.

Over in the UK, there were some positive findings with the PC market totalling 3 million units in the first quarter of 2012. This was an increase of 2.4 percent compared with the equivalent period in 2011. The desk-based segment showed the greatest increase, with a rise of 7.2 percent, which Gartner put down to a result of strong sales of the all-in-one form factor.

HP increased its lead and remained the top dog vendor in the UK, thanks to well-priced products. However, Dell's performance was described by Gartner as "weak", and it continued to lose share. Lenovo was the major winner, with 59.5 percent growth. EPC shipments in France were at 2.7 million units in the first quarter of 2012, a decline of 3.9 percent compared to the first quarter of 2011.

Over in France the PC market in France remained weak, but it showed signs of improvement in the professional PC segment, which grew 0.8 percent in the first quarter 2012. Gartner said this was as a result of a number of deals in the education and public sector and increasing demand for Windows 7-based PCs, which accelerated the replacement cycle.

HP remained once again took top spot in France, but it was only Toshiba which really showed growth, moving into the fifth position thanks to its availability of its mainstream mobile PCs.

Over in Germany the figures were better. PC shipments totalled 3.3 million units in the first quarter of 2012, an increase of 7.1 percent compared with the equivalent period in 2011. Shipments in the professional PC market also grew by nine percent and the consumer PC market increased 5.2 percent year-on-year.

Overall, the mobile PC segment grew 8.7 percent and the desk-based PC segment grew 4.7 percent. It wasn't good news for HP here, which lost its number one position to Acer.