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Netbooks take ten per cent of Euro PC market

'Explosive' growth a year on from Eee PC's arrival

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First Gartner and now IDC has highlighted the rise of the Small, Cheap Computer as one of key product categories keeping the European PC market afloat.

Laptops too are helping keep vendors' heads above water, and together with the SCCs helped shipments of all types of personal computer grow 27 per cent year on year during Q3, IDC said.

Notebook shipments were up 52 per cent when comparing Q3 2008 with Q3 2007. SCC shipment growth can't really be considered since the first one, the Eee PC 701, didn't go on sale until Q4 2007, and up to that point the only alternative, the UMPC, didn't really trouble the score-keeper.

We can say that European netbook shipments went from zero in Q3 2007 to over 2m in Q3 2008, a figure that's just under ten per cent of the 27.9m PCs shipped into Europe in Q3 this year.

IDC forecast SCC shipments will rocket almost 100 per cent to just shy of 4m units during the current quarter. That'll be helped by the arrival of new players like Apricot, LG, Samsung, Toshiba and Fujitsu Siemens, all of who are releasing netbooks this month or early next.

That will put pressure on Asus and Acer, the two strongest netbook makers in Q3, the latter having grabbed a good chunk of the business following the release of its cheap Aspire One and what IDC called an "explosive entry" into the market segment. Together, these two took 80 per cent of the European netbook market in Q3, IDC said.

Most netbooks were sold through retail, the market watcher said. But it noted a growing number of units coming through mobile phone carriers and telcos who subsidised the products on the back of monthly broadband subscription fees.

Acer's overall notebook portfolio pushed it into the top spot as Europe's leading PC vendor, with a market share of 21.3 per cent in Q3, up from 14.2 per cent a year earlier. It was followed by HP (18.7 per cent), Dell (9.5 per cent), Asus (7.4 per cent) and Toshiba (5.8 per cent).

All the other vendors together amounted to 37.3 per cent of the market, down from 46.7 per cent in Q3 2007, showing a big shift in favour of the top-five suppliers.

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