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Dead PC market? In the UK? NEVER

Customers lined up with cash in hand... no not fanbois, real punters

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Thought the UK PC market was like a dead mule? Wrong. There's life yet in those age old desktop and notebook nags, according to distributor shipment data.

Numbers from venerable analyst Context, the gentle purveyor of sales-out figures - the stuff that users are actually buying - showed Q3 was not bad, not bad at all.

The total market was up a little over 36 per cent in shipments to 1.7 million units (PCs, tabs and workstations) and the value of those sales bounced 26.3 per cent to £467m.

The major UK distributors shipped more slabs than PCs, with 874k finding a home, more than double the volumes a year ago, and the worth of those growing by 93 per cent to £159m.

This was fuelled by a ridiculous growth in Android-based machines, some 233 per cent, versus a 47 per cent rise in iOS as well as evidence of growing interest in Windows 8 tabs.

Google took a 76 per cent share of the OS landscape, up from 69 per cent in the previous quarter; iOS had 21 per cent down from 28 per cent; and Windows edged up to 3.1 per cent from 2.5.

The reason for Apple's sequential decline was due to consumers holding back for the launch of the iPad Air and new Retina display Mini.

Extract tabs from the equation and growth in PCs and workstations was certainly more modest, up 0.4 per cent in sales to 848,000 and 7.1 per cent in revenues to £308m.

Desktops shipments were up eleven per cent to 235k units and revenues climbed 20 per cent to £90m.

Context analyst Lachlan Welsh said all-in-ones were up by 47 per cent on a year ago to lift consumer sales by double digits, as XP migration oiled sales in the business space.

Desktop king HP saw sales decline six per cent to 100,000 units – although this still constituted a whopping 47 per cent market share – and revenues were flat at £36m.

HP is getting more aggressive in the market again, it tells us after a period of instability that stretches back to the reign of CEO Mad Leo Apotheker.

Relative upstart Lenovo grew units 65 per cent to 64k, giving it a near 30 per cent share of the spoils, and revenues were up 66 per cent to £22m.

Also rans (in third, fourth and fifth) were Acer, Apple and Fujitsu which sold 21k, 16k and 15k respectively.

Notebooks shipments were down 3.2 per cent to 608k units but the mix of higher margin sales was reflected in revenues, which grew 2.8 per cent to £213m.

Unlike desktops, business customers fuelled demand and it was those pesky consumers that left down that part of the market.

HP led in this sector too, flogging 145k lappies, up 18 per cent to take market share of nearly 24 per cent. Revenue growth wasn't bad either, up 17 per cent to £51m.

Nemesis Lenovo saw sales rocket 80 per cent to 100,000 units – equating to a 16 per cent share of the spoils. And Lenovo turnover in this sector climbed 65 per cent to £41m.

The next three firms declined, in revenue terms at least, were Toshiba, Acer and Sony - down 6 per cent, 17 per cent, and 32 per cent respectively to £29m, £27m and £23m. ®

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