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Context predicts rosy 1998 for European PC sales

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Market research company Context has predicted continued strong growth for PC sales in Western Europe following the release of its Q3 sales figures. Throughout the quarter, sales rose 22.4 per cent year-on-year to 5.25 million machines. The growth was fuelled by increased corporate expenditure on IT as part of Euro and Y2K roll-outs, said Context. Equally, the much-predicted economic slowdown hasn't happened, persuading many businesses that now might by a good time to upgrade their computer equipment. Continued growth will be driven by consumer demand in the run-up to Christmas, said senior analyst Jeremy Davies, quoted by Reuters. Compaq strengthened its leadership of the market, unlike its experience in the US, where its lead was reduced, according to figures released separately by IDC (see Compaq under increased threat from direct vendors -- now official). In both markets, the company's chief challenger was Dell -- in Europe, the direct vendor almost doubled its sales. Looking ahead, Context said the Q3 figures were in line with its earlier predictions for a rosy picture for 1999. The company reckons this year will see the Western European PC market grow by 18-20 per cent -- next year, the market will expand by between 20 and 22 per cent. "I'm happy to stick with our estimates," said Davies, though he accepted there was a possibility that in the final 12 months before the new millennium, many buyers may decided to delay purchases until after the Y2K bug is fixed. "It could go either way," he said. "We'll probably know before the end of the second half of next year." ® Click for more stories

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