The PC market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the final quarter of last year was flat, according to research outfit IDC.
In a report published this week, it found that big corporate firms were slowly starting to spend on IT and replace old kit, but added that SMEs continued to struggle with very tight budgets in Q4 2010.
In the UK during that period sales of business computers fell three per cent.
"Corporate demand continued to recover, helping to sustain commercial desktop volumes, but the SMB segment remained affected by economic pressure and uncertainty, forcing companies to prolong life-cycles and delay renewals, impacting portables in particular," said IDC.
Meanwhile, the trend for western Europeans snubbing the netbook market continued in the fourth quarter of last year, with sales of that product category down 29 per cent.
Notebook sales saw a 0.5 per cent increase in Q4, said IDC, while desktop PC sales plummeted 19 per cent.
"The robust popularity of media tablets led to further deceleration in mini-notebook volumes as well as mainstream notebook demand due to constrained disposable income," said IDC's EMEA PC research manager Eszter Morvay.
"The lacklustre interest in notebook renewals continued to fuel inventory build-up, despite slower sell-in in preparation for Sandy Bridge [Acer's tablet]," she said.
The IDC said EMEA computer shipments grew by just 2.4 per cent year-on-year in the final quarter of 2010, below a forecast of 4.3 per cent growth for that period.
It added that 110 million PC units were shipped across the region in 2010. ®