Commercial PC buyers prop up weak consumer sales

The start of Q3 2019 saw PC sales continue to follow the pattern that has characterised the past few quarters, with healthy demand from commercial buyers offsetting weaker consumer sales, according to the latest data published by CONTEXT, the IT market intelligence company.

Volume sales of PCs through Western Europe’s largest distributors were up by +8% year-on-year in July 2019, driven by a +15% growth in the commercial sector as businesses continued to invest in new hardware in preparation for the end of Windows 7 support early next year. Notebook sales were up by +11% and desktops by +25%. Workstation volumes also grew: stationary systems by +18% and mobile machines by +25%.

On the other hand, sales of consumer PCs remained weak, falling by -2% in July 2019 when compared to last year. The decline was driven by a -3% drop in sales of notebooks. While there was growth in some consumer areas, including desktops, ultra-slim portables and Chromebooks, the volume bases in these parts of the market were too small to reverse the negative trend.

Gaps in the supply of Intel processors continued to impact PC sales, although most vendors say the situation is improving.

“It is expected that commercial demand will remain strong throughout the second half of 2019 as migration to Windows 10 continues”, said Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at CONTEXT. “While a range of promotional activities during the upcoming back-to-school and Black Friday periods are likely to lead to a temporary improvement in the consumer growth trend, overall demand is expected to remain soft.”


Country breakdown


  Commercial PCs Consumer PCs
  Volumes Y/Y Volumes Y/Y
Country July 2019 July 2019
United Kingdom 10.8% -10.9%
Germany 24.5% -15.7%
Italy 23.5% -3.5%
France 22.6% 4.1%
Spain 3.6% 17.7%
Netherlands 19.1% -0.1%
Switzerland 2.4% 26.3%
Finland 17.3% 7.3%
Poland -11.4% -0.7%


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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine