Multi-Equipment Homes, Notebook Renewals, and Telco Offerings Will Drive the French PC Market in 2008, Says IDC

LONDON – March 10, 2008 – The French PC market recorded healthy trends in 2007, in line with other major Western European countries, with shipments growing by 10.5% year on year. The key engine of growth was the accelerated transition to mobility and notebook renewals, leading to almost 30% growth in the notebook market. However, the desktop market remained constrained, experiencing another negative year, with sales declining by 3.7% compared to 2006. IDC believes that PC demand will remain solid in 2008, and therefore forecasts the market to grow by 7.8%, driven by sustained notebook momentum across all segments, which will boost portable PC sales by close to 20%.

Consumer notebook sales displayed a strong performance in 2007, posting 33.8% growth versus 2006. Ongoing renewal of the installed base, assisted by continuous price erosion and strong vendor push, is a key market dynamic.

"IDC expects multi-equipment homes and telco operators' new routes to market to fuel growth in 2008, with over 20% growth forecast for consumer laptops," said Nicolina Angelou, research analyst for IDC's EMEA Quarterly PC Research Group. "French consumers will increasingly replace desktops with notebooks, highlighting the trend of 'sofa-mobility' that has already driven the strong success of transportable notebooks (17in. and above), reaching the highest level in Western Europe in 2007. IDC expects the demand for transportables to continue unabated in 2008, stimulated by further price declines."

At the same time, the increasing diversification of usage scenarios will continue to drive demand for multiple equipments, including ultraportables (12.1in. and below), which, so far, have not enjoyed wider uptake among consumers due to an unappealing price/performance ratio. Low-cost ultraportables could potentially change the positioning of this form factor. The year started with SFR's offer of the 7in. Asus Eee PC bundled with unlimited 3G connection for EUR199, when consumers accept a 24-month subscription of EUR29.90 (or EUR34.90 for 12 months). The promotion, limited to 10,000 units until mid-March 2008, has enjoyed an active media campaign that focuses on the ease of Internet on the go. In addition to the multi-equipment homes, telco offers are likely to boost portable penetration in low-income segments and other new-buyer categories, such as the senior population.

Competition between vendors is expected to further intensify with the retail entry of Dell and Lenovo, which are likely to create marketing momentum around their new consumer line-ups, adding to the increasing "noise" around mobility, as well as the acquisition of Packard Bell – the fourth player of the French market in 2007 – by Acer, which will increase market consolidation. In addition, competition between channels will further fuel price erosion, as sales through etailers continues to grow, thanks to aggressive offerings and strong campaigns, as well as rising consumer confidence. France is one of the most mature markets in Western Europe for online PC purchases, reflected by strong national etailers.

Similar to consumers, SMBs (businesses with 1-499 employees) are increasingly attracted by mobility as the price gap between form factors continues to shrink. The renewal of the installed base, the replacement of desktops by notebooks, and continued adoption of notebooks drove strong growth in the SMB segment in 2007, while adversely impacting desktop shipments, which continued to decline in that period. As a result, and as anticipated, notebooks overtook desktops for the first time in 4Q07. The transition to mobility is expected to continue unabated in 2008, with SMBs benefiting from dedicated products, support, and services, from both vendors and channels. In addition to strong vendor push, targeted channel programs, and declining prices, France will witness further expansion of "teletravail" ("ework"), which will have a positive impact on notebook demand in the coming quarters.

The corporate segment, which is comprised of the enterprise (businesses with more than 500 employees) and public (government and education) sectors, experienced positive trends in 2007, following negative 2006 results. The enterprise market saw a healthy recovery of desktop volumes, as the ongoing cycle of corporate hardware refreshes stimulated demand in 2007, as well as double-digit growth for portables, thanks to large education deals. As replacement of the installed base continues, 2008 is expected to see sustained strength in enterprise demand levels, boosting unit shipments across both desktops and notebooks.

IDC's EMEA Quarterly PC Tracker gathers PC market data in 55 countries, by vendor, product category, sub form factor, brand, user segment, channel, processor, and notebook screen size. The research includes historical and forecast trend analysis as well as price band and installed base. For more information on IDC's PC Tracker program and its related deliverables, please contact Karine Paoli, associate vice president, IDC EMEA Personal Computing group (kpaoli@idc.com), or visit www.idc.com .

About IDC

IDC is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 900 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 90 countries worldwide. For more than 43 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting www.idc.com .

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