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back to article Laptops dominate UK spending in personal computing kit

Brits bought more computer kit during the past Christmas and New Year period than they did in the same period a year before, market watcher GfK has revealed. Comparing real sales - GfK tracks purchases made by punters not just how many units vendors ship from their warehouses - over December 2011 and January 2012 to figures from …

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A few points and a question

So desktops are lower than even tablets, right?

Could this be due to:

A) Desktops being easily upgradable, hence having on average twice the lifespan of an equivalent lappie

B) Desktops costing like-for-like about half the price of laptops?

C) Intel's 1366 i7 series being unsurpassed a good 3 and a half years since their launch

D) I know many desktops can be kitted out on-demand and I haven't bought a full branded desktop since 2001. So how are all those machines, that get assembled to order, accounted for in the sales figures?

Enquiring minds would like to know.

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Re: A few points and a question

@B, at the budget end of the scale laptops are currently cheaper than desktops, due to all the add ons.

If you want a basic machine for web browsing and word processing and not too bothered about much else, you can buy a reasonable laptop for around £300.

With this you get the monitor, keyboard, pointing device, Windows and it's portable.

Once you add a monitor, keyboard and mouse at this end of the market to a desktop it looks expensive.

Basic desktop machines with Windows (not trying to start a flame war here, but it's what most people are happy with!), are in the £300 region, to this you need to add a monitor etc.

Not looking so cheap now.

At the higher end of the market costs have been going up as well, the need for better airflow cases, larger power supplies and graphics cards going up in price have pushed costs up.

Not to say that an equivalent laptop won't cost more at this position laptops are much more expensive, but not as many people buy these machines. This will be reflected in the sales figures.

@ C Requirement dependent. Not everyone wants a bleeding edge gaming or processing rig.

@D The bulk of the sales are at the low end of the market and I doubt custom built machines will factor into the sales figures, this data will be from big manufacturers such as Dell, HP etc.

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Re: A few points and a question

Well it depends. A replacement laptop comes with a new keyboard, mouse substitue and monitor built in. A replacement desktop can use the ones you already have, making them effectively free. OK a first desktop or additional desktop has an overhead, but I suspect most are replacements.

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Re: A few points and a question

My desktop is 6 times as powerful as my laptop and cost less than 2/3rd the price. The graphics is considerable better if 6 years old. I upgraded my desktop due to the old one giving up after 4 years of faithful use as second hand freebie.

My laptop is a replacement for one that died about two weeks after 3 years old and when at home I connect in to my desktop to do development work and use it as a monitor/keyboard if I want to slob in my beanbag. On the road it is used to demo stuff but is basically shit for 'real work' and around £100 of it was for an OS that I don't want and cant seem to get the money back on.

I expect it to breakdown in about 2 years - after I can claim any refund - when I hope I will be able to buy an 8 core arm tablet with addon keyboard for about £200 if RaspberryPi is anything to go by.

But I don't think MS/Apple will let me.

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The enemy of my enemy is my friend

True the desktop has been threatened by the laptop for a while, but now the laptop is under fire from tablets I wonder if we're going to see recovery in desktop sales. Certainly a 10% growth in sales isn't inconsistent with that theory. A laptop has always been a compromise between power and portability. If for some (many?) people a tablet is sufficient for their portable requirements then why choose a compromise machine for when they need power? If they're now only needing more than a tablet for tasks where they'd have likely docked a laptop on a desk then forgetting about a laptop and returning to a cheaper and/or more powerfull desktop makes a lot of sense.

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