The UK PC market was lifeless in Q2 and apocalyptic beancounter Gartner is not sure the whether it can be fully revived ever again. Or maybe its just that PC disties are placing fewer, less sizeable orders in anticipation of slow summer sales – and with one eye on keeping inventory at more manageable levels after getting burnt …
"Windows 8 and Ultrabooks now look even more important."
They're doomed then.
Yes, but manufacturers love the idea of them. After years of price wars sucking the value out of making 2" thick plastic laptops with a roaring HDD the chance to up the prices for something slimmer and simpler to assemble is delectable. The problem is that they're for people who:
1) travel a lot with a laptop
2) have a budget
3) don't say "I could buy a Macbook for that much"
That's not a lot of people right now, but if the computer of the future looks like the blue Lenovo IdeaPad U310 I'm all for it.
As everyone is waiting for the new iPhone5 and the 7'' iPad, sales across the IT sector can't be expected to be all that brilliant. Only iPhones and iPads count for real sales, all the other stuff is not worth it anyway, and if someone needs a bigger computer then there's like big Apple computers as well.
The market will recover as soon as the new iPhone and the new iPad can be ordered.
Belive me, I know about this, I'm a barrista.
I thought Lenovo were one of the top 5 PC vendors
Are they really in 6th place (or lower) in the UK market or is the data duff?
Re: I thought Lenovo were one of the top 5 PC vendors
I think they are in the USA, but not here. Thing is, they're mostly still a business laptop supplier with an ultrabook sideline. Not many desktop sales, not many consumer laptop sales. Obviously they're looking to change that, though.
Given that the main reason for buying new hardware was/is due to the current hardware no longer coping with current needs (whether they be gaming or business), then this is hardly surprising - at home I run a quad-core machine that's nearly 5 years old and is only just reaching the point where the main components (motherboard, CPU and memory) need replacing/updating. The same is true here in my office - there still are no quad-core machines and most of the hardware is at least 2 years old.
The rapidity with which CPUs moved into a multi-core architecture, it for about the first time completely outstripped the vast majority of softwares needs.
Neither businesses nor home users are looking to replace anything that isn't already quite old. Couple this with the trebling of HDD prices, subsequently pushing up OEM PCs by a margin and it's no wonder nothing is selling from the big box manufacturers.
Finally, add in that we are in a recession and the majority of companies and people are looking at every conceivable way to save money (making hardware last longer saves companies millions) and you start to wonder why anyone is even surprised by this.
Will the market remain on its knees?
Yes. Most certainly yes.
IMHO, this is due to Windows 8. People will vote with their feet and go 'meh' and keep on using their old kit.
If you are a pure reseller then you should be looking hard at other ways to flog kit apart from PC with Windows 8 pre-loaded.
Time for a beer to celebrate the Women's Boxing.
Re: Will the market remain on its knees?
Nah, you're wrong, Windows 8 will see the greatest take-up of a new OS since the last biggest one (Vista?).
The slump in sales is purely down to everyone holding off their upgrade until new machines are available with Win 8 pre-installed.
(Attempts to keep straight face)
(Fails & collapses in gales of laughter)
Whats the incentive to buy new kit?
As EvilGav 1 says there is no compelling reason to buy current hardware unless you need more memory. This is the only limiting factor in older PC's which can take SSD's and graphic card's. Older CPU's are more than adaquate for the majority of general tasks so why spend the money.
I don't think Windows 8 will be the incentive to buy a new PC either.
What's the incentive to buy new kit?
Agreed. I think the other major way computers can be modernised is getting a new IPS screen-they're amazing and a lot cheaper than people think. See codinghorror for a very nifty article about how cheaply you can get them if you look.
Still pretty good
There are 26.3 million households in the UK. The current sales rate is 10 million per year, which come to a new machine per household every 2.63 years. There are 29.3 million people employed in the UK, so it is one new PC every 5.56 years for every house and job in the nation. I see that as a healthy number, considering not every job requires a PC.
No surprises there then
I recently purchased a ThinkPad T61 from eBay for £180. 2.2ghz dual core, 4gb ram, hdd from my old laptop, decent battery life, and that should see me for another couple of years. Likewise I built my desktop three years ago with components that were old then and it still does everything I want.
There has been minimal improvements in the market for years now (apart from cutting edge applications). Manufacturers need to come up with something to make me want to buy computers, otherwise they're going to keep loosing sales. Basically they're making computers too good (not that I'm complaining).
The picture in Europe as a whole has some interesting features.
"The wider trend seems to be that even in PCs, people are gravitating towards smaller machines. Gartner notes that desk-based units were down by 12.8 percent, but mobile PC shipments (laptops, netbooks) went up by 4%. Similarly, you can see the effects of consumerization at play here: the “professional” PC market is down by 5.3%, while consumer PCs saw a sliver of growth: 0.4%."
Specifically that whilst conventional boxes fell sharply, laptops/netbooks actually rose and the overall hit appears to be in enterprise rather than the domestic retail market. It is interesting that the mass market trend continues in the direction of smaller devices (but not tablets on the same scale yet, they are as far as the market as a whole is concerned not yet mass market in the same way that boxes and laptops are). These figures are of course against the backdrop of very nasty economic conditions but it does seem to indicate that if the manufacturers of ultabook type laptops and of course (in the medium term) tablet pcs, get the quality/price equation right they may do very well in those areas - particularly as both ARM and Intel are competing like ferrets in a sack as far as the power consumption/processing power equation is concerned. Next year could prove to be very interesting indeed as long as the continental economy does not go completely tits up - and the jury is very much still out on that one.
power consumption/processing power equation is an interesting point
Now we're in a cycle of heavy investment in smartphone R&D I'm looking forward to smartphone parts leaking into PCs on a grand scale. I think for most desktop users plug computing could be all they need quite soon.
Re: power consumption/processing power equation is an interesting point
I believe so. I think that (judging by Intel's roadmap for 2013 and what we know about ARM's near future plans) we are approaching a genuine paradigm shift in personal computing where the small mobile devices (smartphones, tablet pcs etc) will genuinely have the kind of processing/relatively heavy lifting capacity that has hitherto only been available on larger devices. This of course is being driven further by the ever increasing pressure to deliver that processing/graphics power for ever lower battery demand. We may, in the course of 2013, actually begin to see the outlines of the so-called "post-pc world" now that the hardware is rapidly beginning to catch up with media hype. One key indicator will (IMHO) be to what extent the "hybrid" device really catches on in genuinely mass market terms. Your smartphone/tablet plus dock and external monitor+keyboard+mouse at your (home)office desk - or unship it and you are good to go. If something like that catches on amongst a lot of punters then we really will be in a new ball game*.
* My assumption here is of course that your average punter will not wish to be "confined" to one device unless he/she can interact with it by other means that purely touch.