Market analysts at IDC released its quarterly report on the state of PC sales in Europe last night, and the results make bleak reading for manufacturers. Total shipments of PCs across the Europe, the Middle East and Africa were down by 8.9% compared to last year.
As if that wasn't bad enough, that figure was held high by lots of PCs sold in Eastern Europe, Russia and the Middle East. In Western Europe shipments were down by more than a fifth overall, and by 32.2% in the consumer sector.
IDC highlighted the rather booming trade in smartphones and tablets as the cause of the decline, along with the ongoing debt crisis in Southern Europe and 'high inventory' at the start of the quarter.
In other words, there were lots of unsold PCs in shop warehouses three months ago, and there aren't so many now – so actual sales figures might not be as bleak as these headlines suggest. But people are buying a lot of phones and tablets.
It's especially bad news for Acer, who sold 40.3% less PCs than they did last year. Not so much for Apple, which – as they told investors last night – are selling Macs like the proverbial warm cakes. Up 28% globally on this time last year in fact.
What does it mean for gaming? For what's it's worth, my opinion is not a lot. As far as games machines go, my feeling is that these figures just represent what we already knew – you don't need to buy a new PC that often any more. A decent first generation quad core processor will still perform perfectly well in games, so why upgrade.
What will be interesting is whether or not graphics cards and other upgrades are selling well. They were predicted to, and we're expecting to see those numbers soon.