Apple shipments up but UK PC market still shrinks by nearly 8% in Q2 2012

Britain's PC market looks like it is in the death throes following a flaccid second quarter showing, according to market research firm Gartner.

The report (see table, top) paints a grim picture. UK shipments fell 7.6 per cent year-on-year, with only 2.5 million units entering the Isles, and the top three manufacturers all fared worse than the market average. Market leader HP's unit sales were down 11.7 per cent, while Dell fell 23.2 per cent and Acer plummeted by 14 per cent.

The PC market was "depressed across the board," in the opinion of Gartner's research director, Ranjit Atwal, with only fourth-placed Toshiba and fifth-placed Apple posting growth figures. The duo's shipments to IT wholesalers were up by over 50 per cent and exactly 10 per cent respectively, though it should be noted that Toshiba's impressive showing is inflated by virtue of its miserable 2011 Q2.

According to Atwal, the real concern is that the market looks unlikely to recover, as the shoddy Q2 results are part of an overall global negative growth trend rather than representing a one-off.

"The UK PC market remained very weak...the real worry is whether it will ever return to solid growth," he said.

"Windows 8 and Ultrabooks now look even more important. However messages emerging from the PC supply chain remain inconsistent and largely uninspiring. This has resulted in the PC channel holding back on new shipment orders until the fourth quarter of 2012," Mr Atwal added.

In Western Europe as a whole, the market shrunk by a less mind-numbing 2.4 per cent, with HP and Dell faring particularly badly, and Asus experiencing impressive growth (42 per cent) as it upped its market share by over 3 per cent.

Is the PC dying a slow, painful death or simply adapting to a new role in today's mobile-centric world? ITProPortal has an opinion - and we're not keeping it to ourselves.