Signs that commercial demand for PCs is improving could be found in the latest fourth quarter review of the state of the EMEA market from IDC but consumers continue to stay away from the format opting for tablets instead.
Overall unit shipments in Q4 declined by 6.4% in the fourth quarter, year-on-year, making it a total of six quarters of decline in a row and a full year drop of 15.7% compared to 2012.
There was a slight up tick in the enterprise market as a result of the imminent end of XP support and for the third consecutive quarter the commercial shipments were larger than consumer in Western Europe.
For those hoping that the Christmas season would bring some cheer in the consumer market there was continued disappointment as users stayed away preferring to invest in other form factors.
"Better results in the commercial desktop PC shipments and continued decline in the consumer space, particularly in portable PCs, confirm the trend we have been observing for several quarters that while PCs remain very relevant in the business area, consumers increasingly favour new mobile technologies, opting for tablets and smartphones as their preferred computing devices and extending the life cycle of their PCs," said Maciej Gornicki, senior research analyst, IDC EMEA Personal Computing.
In terms of vendor positions HP held onto top spot in EMEA helped by enterprise sales with Lenovo chasing in second place buoyed by the launch of new products, then followed by Acer, Dell and Asus.
But the improving position in the enterprise market is not yet strong enough to reverse overall market declines and as indicated by Intel last week, which put too much faith in a decent surge of spending from that sector in the fourth quarter, it still has some way to go to change the fortunes of the hardware industry.
"Enterprise, however, fell short of our expectations for the fourth quarter and the year as we overestimated the rate of recovery among corporate buyers," said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.