PC shipments grew by 0.3 per cent in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and 1.0 per cent in Western Europe in the second quarter of 2001, according to data from IDC.

During the quarter, 8,070,000 units were shipped, compared to 8,043,000 in the same quarter a year ago.

But, as expected, consumer-desktop sales were weak, leading to a decline in the overall desktop market. The data also revealed that notebook sales recorded single-digit growth for the first time in four years.

Growth slow-down The notebook market grew by only 6.4 per cent, in contrast to strong double-digit growth rates recorded for the last four years.

A squeeze on capital investments has been precipitated by fears over the weakening global economy, according to IDC. Hardware investments were particularly affected during the second quarter of 2001, with businesses delaying new equipment purchases to the end of the year.

Andrew Brown, senior analyst for Mobile Computing for IDC in EMEA, said: "With many companies exercising greater caution over hardware investments, it is unsurprising that notebook sales have been affected.

"Nevertheless, we expect the transition to notebooks to continue, driven by further price declines and the growth in technology such as wireless LAN into 2002."