Liliputers push Q3 PC sales in EMEA

Driven by continued buoyancy in the notebook market and the additional momentum created by the new mini-notebook or ‘liliputer’ segment, PC shipments recorded a robust 27 per cent increase in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in the third quarter of 2008 compared with the same quarter last year, according to analyst firm IDC.

Notebooks continued to drive overall market growth at over 52 per cent year on year as consumer demand showed no sign of slowing down in Western Europe and continued to grow in central Europe and the Middle East and Africa, while the market also benefited from sustained demand in the business space.

“This quarter benefited not only from continued and robust consumer demand for mainstream notebooks as anticipated, but also from an acceleration and confirmation of the uptake of the new mini-notebook segment with the proliferation of low-cost ultra portable products and deals through telco operators which contributed to boost consumer demand further,” said Karine Paoli, associate vice president for IDC’s EMEA personal-computing research.

“Mini notebooks saw a surge during the back-to-school season with IDC estimating over 2 million units shipped in EMEA in 3Q08,” said Eszter Morvay, senior research analyst for IDC’s EMEA PC Tracker. “Although the retail channel remained the primary route-to-market to reach consumers, mini notebook volumes were further boosted by the rising number of telco deals across several countries, enticing customers with free laptops bundled with mobile broadband, benefiting Asus and Acer in particular. Whilst the retail shelves were dominated by Asus in the first half of the year, the competition heated up over the summer months with Acer deploying strong push across the region.

“The appealing product design coupled with the right price point earned Asus and Acer a combined market share of over 80 per cent in this rapidly expanding market. Mini notebooks are clearly shaking up the competitive landscape, which is likely to get even more fierce in the pre-Christmas season with several vendors launching products from October, and potentially pushing mini notebooks volumes in EMEA towards the 4 million range in 4Q08,” Morvay added.

Paoli added: “While the financial crisis that hit Europe in October may lead to intensifying economic pressure over the coming months and slowing business investment trends, the development expected of the new mini-notebook segment could well balance the impact of any potential downturn and maintain buoyancy in the EMEA PC market in 2009, at least in unit terms. Continued price erosion and potential currency fluctuations will however add pressure in revenue and profit terms for several vendors.”

This quarter marked significant change in the top vendor ranking in EMEA with Acer taking the number-one spot in EMEA while Asus stepped further up to fourth place in the overall ranking.

Acer made an explosive entry in the mini-notebook market, which, combined with continued growth of its mainstream notebooks as well as desktops, propelled the Taiwanese vendor to the number 1 position in the overall EMEA PC market ranking for the first time.

HP displayed solid growth at over 20 per cent overall in EMEA, further strengthening its position in the desktop market. But notebook growth remained below expectations as the vendor was not able to profit from the current buoyancy in mini-notebook demand. Dell also suffered from the late and limited launch of its mini notebook, which constrained overall notebook volumes this quarter.

Asus stepped up to fourth place shipping over 2 million units this quarter, benefiting from the unabated success of the Eee PC product range.

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