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Study: Notebooks drive sales in Europe

Year-on-year May notebook sales jump in Germany, France and the United Kingdom, but desktops decline.

Computer sales to channels in key European markets grew 4.2 percent in May compared with the same month a year ago, according to data released Friday by market research firm Context.

The notebook segment drove the sales, fueled by falling prices in Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Unit sales of notebooks to distribution channels in these three countries grew 24.7 percent in May over the same month last year. Context said retailers, mail orders and online outlets contributed to this rise. While desktop PC sales dipped 6.6 percent, enterprise servers grew 2 percent and tablet PCs by 4 percent over May 2003.

Hewlett-Packard remained the top brand in all three markets with 20.4 percent of units sold during the month--down from 23.1 in May 2003. Toshiba was No. 2, closely followed by Acer. FSC's share jumped the most, from 8 percent to 11 percent.

Context said channel sales recorded a sequential fall of 9.9 percent for May, attributed to normal seasonal factors. The drop for May 2004 was more than double the same period last year when sales fell 5.9 percent in May 2003. France showed the largest drop in unit sales. The marker researcher said overall PC market in the three countries could grow by 5.8 percent in the second quarter, if seasonal trends hold for June also.

Market analysts have predicted double-digit growth for PC sales in 2004 and 2005, largely due to the trend of businesses and consumers upgrading their machines. Economic recovery in France, Germany and the United Kingdom, and growing use of desktops in China and India, are other factors pushing up PC sales.