Germany sees Q3 leap in PC sales, says IDC

Consumers and businesses in Germany, the largest computer market in Europe, are buying more computers after holding back on IT spending for the past two years.

PC shipments in the third quarter rose 13.8 per cent to 1.8 million units compared to the same period the year before, according to market research published Tuesday by IDC.

Leading the charge were notebook computers, which increased 58.2 per cent to 650,000 units year on year. Strong demand for notebooks, particularly in the consumer market, penalized desktop computer sales, which dropped 2.6 per cent to 1.11 million units year on year.

For 2003, IDC is now forecasting 10 percent growth – the first growth in two years. In 2001, after the Internet bubble burst, PC sales in Germany plummeted 8.1 per cent and again 2.1 per cent the following year, according to the Framingham market research group.

“Can we talk about a recovery?” asked Stefania Lorenz, research manager of IDC’s European PC group, in a conference call. “Yes, we’re seeing a rebound due to notebooks, which are clearly the strongest growth driver.”

Aggressive pricing and marketing contributed to the boost in consumer notebook sales, which grew 122.8 per cent to 310,000 units in the third quarter compared to the same period the year before. Strong demand by small and medium-size businesses led to a 27.6 per cent year-on-year increase in commercial notebook shipments.

“Notebook sales, both to consumers and businesses, are showing no signs of slowing down,” Lorenz said.

As a result of buyers showing a clear preference for notebooks in the third quarter, consumer desktop computer shipments dropped 7.3 per cent, while commercial desktop units grew slightly by 1.1 per cent, she said.

Prices continue to fall, according to Lorenz, as suppliers compete for market share. “To reach the 1.8 million units in the third quarter, vendors had to be very aggressive in their pricing, particularly in the consumer space,” Lorenz said. “The German computer market, Europe’s largest, is very competitive and is driving prices across Europe.”

Fujitsu Siemens Computers (Holding) BV, a joint venture between Japan’s Fujitsu Ltd. and Germany’s Siemens AG, was the top-ranked computer supplier in Germany in the third quarter, with a market share of 81.5 per cent, according to the research. Hewlett-Packard Co. placed second, followed by Medion AG, Acer Inc. and Dell Inc.

In the third quarter, Acer led the competition in notebook sales, up 200 per cent year on year.

IDC is a division of International Data Group Inc., the parent company of IDG News Service.