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Notebook PC Sales Driving EMEA Momentum

Driven by continuing demand for portable systems across the region, PC sales in Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) outpaced expectations in the first quarter of the year, according to preliminary data released by IDC.

Total PC shipments rose 13.2 percent compared with the first quarter last year, reaching 19.4 million units, with notebook sales recording a solid 34.3 percent year on year. Desktop shipments remained flat compared with last year, but unabated demand for Portables, particularly in the Consumer segment and in CEMA, boosted overall growth.

Market leaders HP and Acer continued to gain share with Toshiba, Packard Bell, and Asus also registering strong growth. Dell continued to suffer from slower corporate demand and retail competition in the consumer space while Fujitsu Siemens and Lenovo shipments increased but trailed the market.

"Booming notebook sales across the entire region continued to act as the primary growth driver for most vendors," said Karine Paoli, research director for IDC's Personal Computing group.

"Consumer demand for portables in Western Europe remained very strong, driven by an extensive product offering and increasingly attractive designs, while intense competition between the players maintained price points at very aggressive levels and drove a solid 40 percent growth of consumer notebook sales. And the creation of a growing installed base since 2004 will contribute to maintain solid double-digit trends over the next two years while creating up-sell opportunities as consumers' requirements get more defined and sophisticated."

"The acceleration of portable adoption is also evident in particular in the CEE (Central Eastern Europe) region where notebook sales grew by over 70 percent overall, driven by a growing consumer market, increasing household purchasing power and strong economic growth, and at the same time, declining price points as international players increasingly battle for share," said Stefania Lorenz, program manager, Hardware and Systems Group, IDC CEMA.

As a result, notebooks have outpaced desktop volumes across most countries in the region. "Notebooks represented again this quarter over 50 percent of total PC sales in Western Europe while accelerating demand in the CEE region also boosted the notebook ratio to more than 50 percent in Czech Republic or Hungary, for instance," commented Eszter Morvay, senior analyst for IDC's EMEA PC Tracker. "Notebooks are also growing at fast rates in the Middle East, representing twice the volume of desktops in Saudi Arabia, for example."

Vista did not act as a major market booster in Q1 but combined with processor migrations, certainly contributed to assist growth and some replacements in the desktop space in particular, helping to prevent higher desktop volume contraction.

"While consumer demand for notebooks and continued growth in CEMA will remain the key market drivers throughout 2007, the second half of the year should also benefit from a gradual uptake of commercial renewals, which leads us to remain confident on the short term outlook," added Karine Paoli.

"Vendor and price competition will remain fierce across all segments and revenue growth is likely to display more moderate trends, forcing industry players to find an effective balance between share and profitability levels."

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