PC growth set to surge 16 per cent in 2000 in EMEA despite slow Q1 sales

Driven by rebounding corporate sales and a dynamic consumer segment, personal computer sales in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region are expected to reach 38.8 million units in 2000, an increase of 16.4 per cent over last year, according to the latest forecast from market researcher IDC.

Although the full-year outlook is for healthy growth, PC sales have actually had a slow start in this year's first quarter, particularly in Western Europe, the markets of which take up the bulk of PC shipments in the EMEA region, IDC said .

In Western Europe, corporate PC sales have been slow to take off mainly due to a year 2000-related investment slowdown and a widespread wait-and-see attitude to Microsoft's Windows 2000 operating system, IDC said.

Consequently, first quarter PC sales growth in Western Europe will be limited to around 10 per cent in unit terms, but business investments are expected to rebound by the end of the second quarter and be further stimulated by an expected wave of Windows 2000 upgrades in the second half of the year, IDC said.

In the corporate market, small businesses will most likely remain the most dynamic segment, according to IDC, although sustained demand is also expected from medium-sized companies.

The consumer market, meanwhile, will remain very healthy and drive PC sales in the region in unit terms, IDC said. Driven in large part by the ongoing Internet boom, consumer PC sales are expected to grow by 20.7 per cent in 2000, and be particularly strong in France, Germany and the UK.

PC sales in the Eastern and Central European region, which rebounded in the second half of 1999 as the Russian market stabilised, is expected to see unit sales growth of 12.7 per cent this year, IDC said.

The outlook for the PC markets in the Middle East and Africa is also very positive, IDC said.