The fourth quarter of 2011 saw PC shipments in Western Europe fall by 16.3 million units, according to a report today released by Gartner.
According to the report, PC shipments were especially hard hit in Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain, falling 30 percent or more. But shipments in the U.K. also fell by 19.6 percent, while shipments in France fell as well, 11/8 percent. Even Germany, which has been bragging up its economy, saw PC shipments fall 8.2 percent.
"The UK market has been a prime illustration of the underlying weakness in PC demand across Western Europe," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.
"Despite aggressive pricing and special holiday deals for PCs, consumers' attention was caught by other devices, such as smartphones, media tablets and e-readers," said Meike Escherich, principal analyst at Gartner.
One of the lone bright spots was Apple, which recorded a 17.2 percent gain in vendor shipments in the U.K., and a 15.3 percent gain in France.
It should be noted, however, that the Gartner numbers do not include shipments of "media tablets", meaning that the overall health of the industry might look somewhat different if tablets were included in the overall numbers.
Previously Gartner reported that U.S. PC shipments had also declined in Q4 of 2010, though only be 5.9 percent. Again Apple was the exception as they saw the shipment of Macs soar by 20.7 percent.