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20 per cent of laptop buyers opted for netbooks in Q4 08

Consumer uptake even higher

Business security measures using SSL

Almost a third of consumer-oriented portable PCs shipped in Europe in Q4 2008 were netbooks, market watcher IDC has said.

Netbook shipments accounted for 20 per cent of all mobile computers shipped in the quarter.

IDC's numbers cover the whole of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), but it's Western Europe where the vast majority of machines were sold in to resellers and retailers. Some 3.6m "mini-laptops" shipped into EMEA.

For 2008 as a whole, EMEA netbook shipments came in at just under 7m units. In other words, more than half of the year's shipments came in the Christmas quarter alone. IDC didn't give Q3 2008 figures, but the strength of Q4 shipments suggests big quarter-on-quarter growth.

Acer, always a strong player in the European laptop market, took the top slot during the quarter, acccounting for 30.3 per cent of netbook shipments in Q4 2008, IDC said. Asus was close behind - with a 28 per cent share. HP, Samsung and Dell followed with market shares of 7.0 per cent, 6.4 per cent and 4.3 per cent, respectively.

"Consumers benefited from the plethora of new models appearing on the shelves from October onwards, and the explosion in the product offering stimulated fierce competition for shelf space," said Eszter Morvay, research manager at IDC's EMEA personal computing group.

"Following in the footsteps of Asus, there are currently more than 50 vendors, from international players to local assemblers, with a mini-notebook offering across EMEA, which is clearly contributing to the ongoing buoyancy.''

In short, expect the netbook segment to show "robust double-digit growth" this year, making for "a key growth opportunity in EMEA in 2009 amid the ongoing global economic recession". ®

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