Unit shipments of PCs in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region continued to rise in the second quarter of 2004, though at a slower rate than the previous quarter due to a backlog of inventory in the channel - a trend that will have knock-on effects for the rest of the year, Gartner said yesterday in its preliminary report for the quarter.

Unit shipments of PCs rose 15.5 per cent in the EMEA region in the second quarter to 12.9 million, a rise that was driven by buyers looking to replace both professional desk-based and notebook PCs, according to Gartner analyst Ranjit Atwal.

For the second consecutive quarter, Acer recorded the highest growth in unit shipments at 60 per cent, with shipments of 795,000 units, giving it an overall market share of 6.1 per cent, Gartner said. The research company credited Acer's continued growth to its strong relationships in both the distribution and retail channels.

Slow growth

Hewlett-Packard held its position as market leader with second quarter shipments of 2.2 million units, representing a market share of 16.7 per cent. But for the second consecutive quarter, HP experienced the lowest growth among the top five vendors, which also include Dell, Fujitsu Siemens and IBM.

Gartner said it expects growth in the second half of the year to slow down as compared to the first half due to the relative decline of mobile PC growth. "Going into the quarter, there was a higher expectation for mobile PC growth than was actually realized. As a result, there are higher than normal levels of inventory," Atwal said.

Even though the inventory levels "aren't huge," according to Atwal, there will be a rippling effect throughout the supply chain. "For example, there are now components in stock that need to be filtered out. That will all bring pricing down as readjustments in stock are made," he said.

Whereas market growth has been in the range of 16 per cent to 14 per cent, the second half of the year will produce growth rates of between 13 per cent and 14 per cent, Atwal said.