UK PC sales declined year on year during 2002's second quarter – but the 0.7 per cent decline was less than expected, reports analyst IDC.

Though a bad quarter for desktop sales, the market has been sustained by notebooks, despite the economic outlook. Manufacturers have helped maintain the market by offering attractive products at better prices, IDC says.

On the desktop, corporate spending remains constrained – only essential hardware renewals are taking place. Just like last year, professional desktop sales have remained flat. Rita Sfeir, IDC's European personal computing group's analyst, said: “Businesses are currently reluctant to invest in IT products or services without justification.”

Consumer desktop sales declined 12.4 per cent year on year in 2002's second quarter. Demand was weaker than the first quater – the "Jubilee celebrations, World Cup and declining consumer confidence" compounded traditional weakness in May, which diverted “consumer attention from PC purchases”, Sfeir explained.

As notebook and desktop prices approach those of desktop computers, notebooks have been taking market share and demand remains healthy in that sector.

“Despite the UK market showing slight signs of improvement, the prospect of a return to more positive growth isn't expected until the end of 2002 and early 2003,” said Sfeir.

“Healthier trends are expected to be driven by a rebound in corporate investment and a boost in notebook sales, through the advancement of broadband and wireless technology,” she added.