RealTime IT News

Europe, Asia Overtake U.S. in PC Shipments

By Ed Sutherland

There's a first time for everything.

The European, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region in 2005 shipped more computers, according to numbers by Gartner. The EMEA region shipped 72.6 million PCs in 2005 versus 67.2 million by the U.S.

In the fourth quarter alone, more than 20 million PCs were shipped last year from EMEA countries, which was a 17.2 percent increase over the same time in 2004, according to Gartner. The U.S., by comparison, saw only a 7.5 percent increase, according to Gartner.

The EMEA region owned 33.2 percent of the PC market in 2005, an increase from 32.7 percent in 2004. The U.S. market share declined from 32.9 percent in 2004 to 30.7 percent last year.

The trend in today's findings is likely to continue, according to Charles Smulders, vice president of Gartner's Computing Platforms Worldwide Group.

"For companies it becomes a question of where to put their focus," he said in a statement. "U.S. vendors will have to spend more time overseas to focus on emerging regions."

The growth of mobile PCs was seen as the largest factor accounting for the rise in shipments from outside the U.S.

"The consumer market did well in the region, especially in the mobile PC market where significant promotions in all countries led to exceptional demand," said Ranjit Atwal, senior analyst for Gartner's Computing Platform Group in EMEA, in a statement.

Latin America is one example of the growth of mobile versus desktop computers. Although desktop PC shipments grew 20 percent during the fourth quarter of 2005, notebook shipments shot up by 51 percent. Consumer notebooks experienced more than 112 percent growth, according to Gartner.

Another key to the growth of PCs shipped from outside the U.S. is a slowdown in computers being replaced. A mature U.S. PC market means fewer new computers are being purchased, the opposite of emerging world markets where the number of first-time computer buyers is still increasing.

While Europe, Asia, Latin America and Canada witnessed double-digit growth of PC shipments, tech-heavy nations such as the U.S. and Japan saw 7.5 percent growth.

Japan's small growth rate was attributed to PCs sold during the winter having already been shipped. During the previous period in 2005, Japan's PC shipments saw 18.4 percent growth.

Overall, PC shipments rose 15.3 percent to 218 million units during the fourth quarter of 2005, according to Gartner. In mid-2005, PC shipments worldwide rose by 14.8 percent, or 48.9 million computers, according to the research firm.

PC makers joined nations in jockeying for position. Dell continues to lead PC makers with 16.8 percent of the market and shipments during 2005 growing 18.6 percent, beating the industry's 15.3 percent growth average.

China's Lenovo witnessed a 16.4 percent growth in PCs shipped. Strong demand for PCs in the professional segment accounted for that nation's growth, according to Gartner.