IDC has released its latest figures on the sale of computers in Europe – and, as you might expect, it shows the massive impact that the netbook has had on the market with Acer leading the pack.

Analysts IDC suggest that overall sales for Europe, the Middle East and Asia (EMEA) reached 3.6 million units, which represents 20 per cent of the total sale of portable computers.

"As expected, mini-notebooks were one of the most sought-after items in the Christmas season, particularly in Western Europe, which represented over 80 per cent of volumes," said Eszter Morvay, Research Manager at IDC's EMEA personal computing group.

Shelf space

"Driven by strong vendor and channel push, consumers benefited from the plethora of new models appearing on the shelves from October onwards, and the explosion in the product offering stimulated fierce competition for shelf space," adds Morvay

"Following in the footsteps of Asus, there are currently more than 50 vendors, from international players to local assemblers, with a mini-notebook offering across EMEA, which is clearly contributing to the ongoing buoyancy."

IDC's look at the notable companies that have driven sales show that Acer continues to keep ahead of the Joneses with a 30.3 per cent market share in netbooks – more than two per cent ahead of main rival Asus (28 per cent), whose Eee PC opened out the market.

Bigger, better?

However, IDC suggests that Acer's focus on smaller netbooks is putting it at risk from the raft of 10-inch screen sub-notebooks.

Leading computer maker Hewlett Packard (7.4 per cent) took third spot in the sales, with Samsung (6.4 per cent) and Dell (4.3 per cent) making up the top five.

Other manufacturers sold 23.9 per cent of netbooks.