PC sales in Europe soared by 18 per cent in 1999, hitting 29.9 million units, according to a Reuters report.

The revelation comes from the GartnerGroup's Dataquest unit. Howard Seabrook, vice president and director of Dataquest, said: "1999 has been a great year for home-PC shipments. The image of the isolated lone gamer has changed, and we see expansive, Internet-based computing with everyone wanting to be connected."

New markets, such as Spain and Greece, are opening-up for PC makers. The United Kingdom shipped 5.5 million units in 1999, up 25.2 per cent on the 1998 figure.