The impending Windows XP switch-off on April 8th is having a positive effect on European desktop PC sales.
Growth in channel unit sales during January 2014 had a record 13.6 per cent year-on-year growth, despite the continued decline overall in the PC business, according to analyst Context.
However, overall PC sales in January fell three per cent year-on-year. Notebook PC unit sales fell 4.3 per cent while consumer PC unit sales overall slumped by 10.9 per cent year-on-year.
The data measures actual sales to users as opposed to shipments into the market from vendors.
In the business segment, desktop unit sales grew 17.3 per cent, driving a consolidated growth in business-targeted PCs of 6.6 per cent.
"However, XP replacement projects are not the only factor driving this growth. Relatively weak demand in some European countries a year ago and regular refreshes are also helping to paint an improving picture for desktop sales," said Context in a statement.
Looking at business-focused Windows OS versions, Windows 7/8 remains the most popular with a unit share in January of 55.8 per cent, while Windows 8 holds a 12.6 per cent share.
“The end of XP support across the huge installed base of XP across businesses will present a major security challenge for these companies”, said Alex Mesguich, VP of enterprise research at Context.

‘’Overall, the end of XP support could have a triple-whammy effect. For Microsoft, the unknown consequences could be opening a can of worms for them. Businesses are annoyed at the forced transition, and security vendors will be having to process and patch an increased flow of vulnerability issues.”

Here's a breakdown by country:
January 2014 year-on-year growth of overall desktops in distribution
UK: 30 per cent
Germany: 20 per cent
France: 17.4 per cent
Italy: -2 per cent
Spain: 6.3 per cent

January 2014 year-on-year growth of business-targeted desktops in distribution
UK: 38.5 per cent
Germany: 29 per cent
France: 11.3 per cent
Italy: -1.4 per cent
Spain: -2 per cent