Skip to navigation
Latest News

PC sales flat as netbooks decline

Asus Eee Pc

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 22 Oct 2010 at 14:07

The anticipated arrival of tablets has sparked a decline in netbook sales that has hit PC figures across Western Europe.

PC shipments were flat with only 0.5% growth in the third quarter compared to the same time last year, according to analyst firm IDC.

IDC said the Western European weakness was due to lower demand for netbooks, which have helped prop up the PC market during the past few years of economic difficulties. Last quarter, sinking demand lead to a 25% fall in shipments of the cheap and cheerful mini laptops.

PC rankings

Acer - 21.6%

HP - 19.2%

Dell - 9.2%

Asus - 8.5%

Lenovo - 5.9%

Others - 35.6%

"Mini notebooks had started to slow down in the first half of 2010, but increasing noise and announcements around media tablets have contributed to accelerating the trend," said Eszter Morvay, research manager at IDC.

"Some users have already purchased an iPad, and many others adopted a wait and see position as more products develop towards Christmas," she added.

Across EMEA, shipments were up 10.5% from last year, to 27.8 million computers, largely helped by demand in Eastern Europe driving shipments up 43%.

Acer won back the top spot from HP last quarter, with growth of 3.4% from the same quarter last year bumping its share to 21.6%. Dell held third spot, mostly thanks to its strength in the business market, IDC said.

Asus managed to post 26.8% growth, as its netbook sales held up better than its rivals did.

Subscribe to PC Pro magazine. We'll give you 3 issues for £1 plus a free gift - click here
User comments

Anyone know how many iPads have been sold in western Europe?

By TimoGunt on 22 Oct 2010

It's just that I figure the economic nightmare in Western Europe could be the largest factor on PC sales. Not 1 or 2 million iPads

By TimoGunt on 22 Oct 2010

Launching Netbooks disguised the trend

IMO 'real' PC sales have been pretty flat for quite a while, it's just that Netbooks disguised this falling trend in raw numbers, but not in sales revenue, since they were bargain basement PCs with some limitations, OK, the Windows powered ones had limitations but I assume the Linux powered machines were included in the PC sales figures anyway?

With companies keeping spending low, and most older PCs still well able to handle all that can be thrown at them, unless there is some innovation from Microsoft of the sort Apple keeps wowing the market with, the flat trend will continue or worsen, IMO.

Macs have increased their sales in each of the last 18 quarters, and in the US represent over 20% of the consumer market share, and that's without adding iPads into the mix. If you did, Apple would have a 25% market share in the US.

With the announcement of the Mac App Store in 90 days time, more and more developers could move to the Mac platform as with the marketing might of Apple behind them they could make more money more easily.

By SwissMac on 22 Oct 2010

and SwissMac comes back with Apple sales talk to an unrelated story...

How about all those people that loved the iPhone for good reason and then bought a Mac and realised that it didn't do anything different to a PC so their next purchase will just be a cheaper PC.
Have you factored those things in?

By TimoGunt on 22 Oct 2010

I must apologise. I just find the sales talk annoying. Of course Mac sales will have taken from PC sales. By the way SwissMac are you sure you have the 20% figure right?

October 15 2010
"According to IDC, Apple has slipped past Acer to become the third-placed PC vendor in the U.S. domestic market behind HP and Dell, with a 10.6 percent share as opposed to Acer's 10.3 percent."

By TimoGunt on 22 Oct 2010

The 20.7% is in the CONSUMER sector, like I said in my earlier post. This excludes ATMs, POS, and business purchases.

Timo, you seem to have a problem facing facts, because that's all I wrote. Facts from recent surveys, market research, and company financial results announcements and serious financial commentators.

Mac sales have increased in each of the last 18 quarters; XP for Netbooks does limit how many programs can be open at once; Netbooks have flattered PC sales numbers because although they kept the unit numbers up, they cost less money so have damaged the PC industry; there has been a recession and companies always spend less in such times; most older PCs are still able to do Word Processing, surfing and spreadsheets meaning consumers don't see the need to go and buy a new one (but they haven't got a Tablet so buy an iPad); iPads are not included in Mac computer sales; PCs that run Linux are included in sales figures for PCs; if iPads were added to Mac sales in the US the joint market share would be 25% - and larger than any other computer maker; current market share does not take into account what people's NEXT purchase might be (it hasn't happened yet).

The 25% market share figure comes from Deutsche Bank/IDC. You can see a chart here:

By SwissMac on 23 Oct 2010

no I agree with you. Well I can't be arsed to argue to be more accurate

However this XP for netbooks thing you talk about with a limit to open programs I'm unaware of. I have a Samsung NC10 running XP and there are no limits to how many programs you open.

By TimoGunt on 23 Oct 2010

my original comments were based on the fact that you went off talking about the glorious Mac and their sales in the US when the story was all about PC sales (which I believe do include the Mac but I may be wrong) in western Europe.

Anyway I'm finished

By TimoGunt on 23 Oct 2010

OK fair enough, Apple is weaker in Europe than in the US I agree. The thing about X limits was the fact that when MS launched Windows for Netbooks, they had to sell a much cheaper version (licence cost to OEMs £15 IIRC). Because it was so much cheaper, they didn't want it to undercut their standard cost Windows OS so they placed a limit of three programs to be run at the same time. You can have as many programs on the disk as can fit, but only three at a time could be running. I believe there were other restrictions as well.

I hadn't heard they had changed this, but if so I think I'll get a copy of the £15 Netbook version of Windows to upgrade one of our work desktops! It's a lot cheaper than paying full price.

By SwissMac on 23 Oct 2010

That should read 'XP. not 'X'. Type. Oops!

By SwissMac on 23 Oct 2010

I'll write that again. That should read 'XP', not 'X'. Typo. Oops!

I've just taken a four year old around the fair, my feet are killing me and I'm tired! Well, that's my excuse anyway, and the Candy Floss is helping me stick to it....

By SwissMac on 23 Oct 2010

ah right, I haven't got the netbook version on my netbook. It's just XP home although any XP version is pants.
I'm still sticking to my guns though. I have Mac OS X on VMWare and I don't understand what you see in it. It's a lot better than XP but I don't see any advantage over Win 7. And this apps store on OS X. DO you honestly think that is a good idea? Is it going to be just more of the iPhone tat (I have an iPhone so I'm allowed to call it tat) or do you think there will be some real apps that take advantage of OS X. I mean will there be a genuine influx of quality apps or is it doomed to mini "To Do" or "Sound board" apps?

..There you go, I've got back to civil mode.

By TimoGunt on 23 Oct 2010

The three program limit was for Windows 7 Netbook edition, Microsoft dropped it as it was getting a bit of bad press. In reality with the processing power available to most netbooks it might not have been a bad idea.

By Shuflie on 24 Oct 2010

Sorry that should have been Windows 7 Starter edition (which was really intended for use on netbooks). It was the three program limit that was dropped, just in case anyone says that starter can still be bought (although I've never seen it myself)

By Shuflie on 24 Oct 2010

I got the starter edition with a netbook; I cannot change the desktop background... oh noes!

By Mark_Thompson on 24 Oct 2010

Talking of oh noes!, the forum software has stripped everything else I wrote. I'll try again:
Link to crap PC Pro article with useful table comparing Starter & other editions of W7.
Article is crap because it says no media centre (but neglects to tell newbies you still get media player) and declares no multi-monitor support (but you can still plug in an external monitor, though my netbook only allows very limited resolutions)

By Mark_Thompson on 24 Oct 2010

SwissMac at it again. Yawn...

As usual SwissMac can't resist a bit of anti-MS trolling. The funny thing is, it just shows when it comes to MS, he doesn't know 'son cul de son coude' !

By rjp2000 on 24 Oct 2010

So PC sales continue unabaited as Europe suffers economic downtown?

Sounds like a success story to me.
Anyway, doesn't that mean Mac sales are flat too? After all, whenever anything POSITIVE is said about PC's, suddenly they're "personal computers" (including Macs) and Windows PC's the rest of the time. Funny that.

Since most PC's are replaced every 3-5 years and hardware hit a performance plateau a few years back and is now relying on more cores to go "faster", most desktop PC's are more than good enough, so the market is only natural wasteage.

Netbooks were a blip, as they fit a new niche "cheap & small" - problem is they very soon got bigger and a lot more expensive, removing the niche.

So it is all a bit of a non-story.

By cheysuli on 24 Oct 2010

"but I assume the Linux powered machines were included in the PC sales figures anyway?"

Well they are PCs. Even Macs are PCs these days it seems, judging by the number of times stories about them feature in the (so-called) PC Pro.

I've no plans to buy a new PC for at least 4 years. Partly because I don't need to, partly because I don't want to spend money unnecessarily in the current economic downturn (never mind what Mr. Bean at the BoE says).

By Lacrobat on 25 Oct 2010

It's a moot point what is and isn't a PC. For some reason most people seem to interpret 'PC' as meaning Windows PC, when in fact it is just short for "Personal Computer' - which could also include Smartphones when you think about it.

As for Windows v OS X, Yes, Windows 7 is a big improvement over XP, but many of its features have been copied from OS X Tiger, the Mac OS before last.

For me, Macs work better than Windows PCs, but for others this might not be the case. It certainly took me a while to learn the little shortcuts that make things work more quickly on a Mac compared to the same things on a PC, but I haven't used W7 extensively so maybe they've caught up here as well.

One thing I am certain of though is that I am more relaxed working with a Mac than I was with a PC, and that's good enough for me. Yes, Steve Jobs can be a bit Candy Floss like sometimes, and that can be annoying, but I don't let personal prejudice stop me buying a particular system. I still buy Windows PCs for some office uses even though I find Bill Gates whiney and Steve Ballmer obnoxious and a poor manager.

By SwissMac on 25 Oct 2010

Leave a comment

You need to Login or Register to comment.



Most Commented News Stories
Latest Blog Posts Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest ReviewsSubscribe to our RSS Feeds
Latest Real World Computing


Sponsored Links

Your email:

Your password:

remember me


Hitwise Top 10 Website 2010

PCPro-Computing in the Real World Printed from

Register to receive our regular email newsletter at

The newsletter contains links to our latest PC news, product reviews, features and how-to guides, plus special offers and competitions.