January 18, 2006 5:05 PM PST
Europe tops North America as largest PC market
PC shipments to the Europe, Middle East and African region came to 72.6 million in 2005, or 33.2 percent of the total shipped during the year, according to research firm Gartner. North America accounted for 67.1 million, or 30.7 percent, of shipments.
This marked the first time that Europe saw more PC shipments than the U.S. In 2004, 62.4 million PCs shipped to North America while 62 million went to Europe. European shipments grew 17.1 percent during the last year while North American shipments grew by 7.5 percent.
Shipments to the Asia-Pacific and Latin America grew at a faster rate--26 percent--but the number of PCs shipped to both regions was lower. About 42.8 million PCs were shipped to Asia. Asia, however, produces more PCs than other regions, which explains why Intel sells more chips there than to Europe or North America.
A strong euro and demand for notebooks, particularly among consumers, lifted European sales, according to Gartner.
One of the big beneficiaries of stronger European sales was Acer, which has targeted European notebook consumers. The Taiwanese company has been the fastest-growing PC manufacturer for two years. In 2005, Acer grew shipments by 58.1 percent and saw its market share grow from 3.4 percent to 4.6 percent.
Gartner said PC shipments grew by 15.3 percent during the year, slightly lower than the 16.4 percent annual growth rival IDC said occurred. The difference between the shipment figures from IDC and Gartner reflects the different methodologies of the two research firms. However, the figures from the two rarely differ radically.
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