back to article The sky is blue, water is wet and UK PC shipments are down

Brexit and the general election were highlighted by Gartner as being among the reasons why the good folk of Britain purchased far fewer PCs in Q2. Sales of computers into retailers and distributors dropped by around eleven per cent year-on-year in the period from the start of April to the end of June, according to data sent to …

Brexit/political uncertainty seems to be the excuse for everything at the moment. I would like to see what these sales are relating to, either business or personal sales. I would expect the business sales are probably staying reasonably constant, while the personal sales are declining as people buy phones/tablets instead. (Of course, there may be some companies moving overseas, but it's not like companies are leaving in droves).

Another thing which may contribute is SSDs. Where I used to work, the company used Lenovo equipment. Over the last couple of years, SSDs have become standard in the laptops we had from them, and we upgraded the older slow machines with SSDs in place of their conventional hard drives, and they became as fast of the new machines. The SSD machines don't seem to suffer from slow performance over time, so there was no need to replace them as frequently.

As the SSDs make a substantial difference to the device performance, companies may simply be choosing to keep their laptops (and some desktops) longer before they need replacing.

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re: the sky is blue etc

Once you get past the HDD to SSD upgrade what is there to be gained from swapping out the old with the new?

CPU performance is adequate for most users already.

Then there is MS saying that Windows 7 won't be supported on the latest Intel CPU's.

A few sticks of RAM here and there and that's taken care of.

So what is left?

How about getting off the MS subscription gravy train?

But that's hard, too hard for many.

So they stick with what they have until it breaks and they can't buy secondhand replacements.

Not a lot to do with BREXIT really but Gartner has to find some neat hook to embiggen their reports that thy charge two arms and a leg for.

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Re: re: the sky is blue etc

It might be a little bit to do with Brexit.

Prices are rising, income isn't.

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Re: re: the sky is blue etc

Prices are rising, income isn't.

That's happening all over Europe, and predates the Brexit referendum. ECB austerity policy is a more likely cause.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: re: the sky is blue etc

"ECB austerity policy is a more likely cause."

The Pound Sterling has dropped very significantly against the Euro and the US Dollar since the referendum. It has lost about 15% of its value compared to those currencies - which will affect the price of imported goods and materials.

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Re: re: the sky is blue etc

@Anonymous Coward:"The Pound Sterling has dropped very significantly against the Euro and the US Dollar since the referendum. It has lost about 15% of its value compared to those currencies - which will affect the price of imported goods and materials."

Phil O'Sophical doesn't appear to like Europe or its inhabitants. You can't present facts to him and expect a rational response.

Who will these people blame for their woes after 2019?

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Re: re: the sky is blue etc

Phil O'Sophical doesn't appear to like Europe or its inhabitants.

Really? Then tell me why I (a Brit) live in an EU country (which isn't the UK?)

I like Europe just fine, I just think it's a silly idea to have one government trying to be in charge of all of it. Europe's strength comes from the diversity of it's members, one size demonstrably doesn't fit all.

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Re: re: the sky is blue etc

The Pound Sterling has dropped very significantly against the Euro and the US Dollar since the referendum. It has lost about 15% of its value compared to those currencies - which will affect the price of imported goods and materials.

Indeed so, although that has also helped exports. Of course, the winners don't complain about it, only those who lose out.

Dan 55's original comment was that income hasn't risen, and prices have. That situation has been around for at least the past 4-5 years, so it can't be blamed on Brexit alone.

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Re: re: the sky is blue etc

Re: CPU performance is adequate for most users already.

Seems Intel would agree with you...

"Intel has wheeled out its 8th Generation Core processors, a refresh of its Core i5 and i7 chips, and their base specs wouldn’t look out of place in a desktop PC circa 2012."

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/08/21/intel_core_i5_i7_8th_gen_processors/

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Re: re: the sky is blue etc

ECB austerity policy is a more likely cause.

Oh that's a good one! € 60 * 10^9 pumped into the economy every month for a couple of years isn't austerity. Furthermore, the ECB is responsible for monetary but not fiscal policy, which is where you'll find any austerity if there's any to be had. However, most of that money has gone into buying government bonds which has allowed most Euro-zone governments to have more expansionary fiscal policy. Which is why the German constitutional court considers the ECB's actions to be outside of its mandate.

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Re: re: the sky is blue etc

No, but the article was talking about the UK, you just need to look at the pound's exchange rates over the past year and a half and on what dates the drops happen to see it's Brexit.

Any chance of recovery in the PC market in the UK just got stopped dead in its tracks.

Also, the ECB isn't in charge of the pound and is anything but austere.

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Holmes

Re: re: the sky is blue etc

Income has been stagnant for years now.

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Devil

Re: re: the sky is blue etc

Once you get past the HDD to SSD upgrade what is there to be gained from swapping out the old with the new?

a crappy user interface, that comes with embedded spyware and adware, called "Windows 10" (aka Win-10-nic). WOW, something to "look forward" to! (NOT)

(from the article)

Brexit and the general election were highlighted by Gartner as being among the reasons why the good folk of Britain purchased far fewer PCs in Q2.

Gartner: you're doing it wrong. blame Win-10-nic. And Windows "Ape" before that.

SUMMARY: if my existing computer is "good enough", and I can add RAM and/or purchase an SSD and just re-install Windows 7 (or XP for that matter), then *WHY* should I buy a NEW computer with Win-10-nic on it? It would be a _COMPLETE_ waste of money, and I'd end up with an INFERIOR computer (because, Win-10-nic).

And... THAT is why PC sales have slumped. K?

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Re: re: the sky is blue etc

"Who will these people blame for their woes after 2019?"

a) The negotiators because they didn't do a good enough job

b) The EU because old habits die hard

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Re: re: the sky is blue etc

I think this is so true.

I remember the PC thing from the beginning. We bought them because there was something only they could do, and we bought faster and bigger ones as they became available because there was something only they could do,.

I haven't seen a new killer app on a PC since Netscape really. Maybe Minecraft .

PCs are now like cars. They do what they do, they are all much of a muchness, and when yours wears out you get a new one.

Frankly any 64 bit CPU with 4GB of RAM could run this desktop faster than I can keep up with it.

And frankly the apps of 5 years ago are probably good enough too.

I am increasingly dismayed by upgrades that result in slower performance, and creeping featurism that I do not want but cannot turn off.

It is a mature market.

Even the software is mature

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Re: re: the sky is blue etc

Phil O'Sophical, you say "I just think it's a silly idea to have one government", which is interesting as you are saying no country in the EU has it's own government and therefore there are no parliamentary elections for Westminster. Vey interesting indeed. I can only presume you don't get out very often. Did you by any remote chance vote for the UK to leave the EU?

So the UK could regain the sovereignty it never lost etc?

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Re: re: the sky is blue etc

you are saying no country in the EU has it's own government

Ah, propaganda 101! Take something I said, and claim I said something different and more extreme. Very good, but perhaps a little too obvious this time.

I didn't say that, because that would be a ridiculous thing to say. Evidently each country still has it's own government, which has control over some things (a policy called subsidiarity) but those governments are subject to overall control by the central EU bodies. That's the basic principle of the EU, central control where it considers it to be appropriate, problems to be resolved by increasing control: "more Europe". Much as Westminister delegates control of some issues to the Scottish, Welsh and NI local assemblies while remaining in overall charge of what it wants to be.

As for Parliamentary elections for Westminister, of course they happen, and it's very interesting to look at the turnout figures. Prior to 1992 (the year the UK joined the EU) turnout was consistently around 75-78%. After 1992 it dropped to 60% but has climbed back up steadily to 70% since then. European parliament election turnout in the UK has been around half that, pretty steadily 35%, except for a drop to 20% in 1999. That's a fairly clear indication of how people see the relative importance of the two parliaments.

Did you by any remote chance vote for the UK to leave the EU?

Nope, did you miss the bit where I said I didn't live in the UK now?

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Re: re: the sky is blue etc

They'll have plenty of time to mull over the causes while they're queuing outside the dole office.

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Coat

It's Brexit, I tell ye...

Brexit is indeed responsible for a lot of headaches both now and in the foreseeable future, with inflation (justified or otherwise) being one of the more notable problems, but it has little more than a peripheral effect on PC sales, the death of which is primarily caused by a terminal lack of interest from consumers.

(Mines the one with the mobile device in the pocket.

Oh, that would be all of them, then.)

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Boffin

Re: It's Brexit, I tell ye...

There is a simple explanation: they added the numbers for Scotland to the EU total, rather than UK.

Click the following link to find out how you can become a PC and support your country.

http://www.metpolicecareers.co.uk/newconstable/becoming-a-pc.php

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Meh

Where you are likely to need a PC to do many forms of work, many home users now realise that they don't need the full desktop / laptop functionality to post their kid pics to facebook, buy stuff from amazon and read an irate rant in the daily fail - in fact the always on nature of tablets and increased screen sizes of phones means they never need to turn on a 'real' computer any more.

As for business sales being down, well how many new computers does your company need when you aren't recruiting hundreds of new staff and mostly they use it as a terminal or a word processor?

When the vast majority of folks have the tech that lets them do what they need / want to do, why are they going to consider replacing it again? Joe Public really doesn't care about windows support end of life notices you know!

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Yeah, it has nothing at all to do with the fact that PC sales are falling everywhere and Intel hasn't released a compelling new CPU since Sandy Bridge. Nothing to do with that.

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"Yeah, it has nothing at all to do with the fact that PC sales are falling everywhere"

Read the article. Down 3% in rest of EU, down 11% in UK.

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Holmes

re: Down 3% in rest of EU, down 11% in UK.

Britain leads Europe in tech.

I remember I had broadband years before my sister in Germany got rid of her government issue modem.

PCs are dying. For perfectly good reasons, like everyone who needs one has got one now, and there is no software led drive to cause people to buy new ones.

In fact the reverse is true. As many people are so happy to point out, WinXP was almost as good as it needed to be for many many people.

Slabs & smartphones are where the consumer tat is at.

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Coat

C'mon, at least make it rhyme...

The sky is blue, water is wet and UK PC shipments are in the toi-LET.

FTFY.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: C'mon, at least make it rhyme...

Roses are red, dung heaps are brown, in tech fuck all has happened, so PC sales are down.

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Devil

Re: C'mon, at least make it rhyme...

"The sky is blue, water is wet..."

you forgot to mention 'Satan Clause' (sequence near the end of 'The Last Boy Scout'). He's out there...

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Anonymous Coward

The decline has been going on for about 6 years in my household. That was when I last had to do a desktop/laptop tech refresh for my extended family and friends. I was spending about GBP8k a year with Scan before then - now I probably spend less than GBP100 a year.

Repairs often use secondhand parts from the spares box or eBay - when the originals are no longer made. Moving to a new motherboard for a Windows user generally would mean purchasing new copies of an O/S and Office too since MS made their licences more restrictive.

My small stock of W7 licences plus LibreOffice will handle some catastrophic conditions - but when that is exhausted then my aim is to move users to Linux Mint.

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Same here

I had to rebuild a desktop earlier this year after a PSU failure took out a Motherboard. The tower had been in almost daily use for around 5 years. So a CPU + Motherboard (and new PSU) deal from Novatech and it was up and running again in a few hours.

I don't envisage it needing to be changed before 2021.

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Coffee/keyboard

Comparisons?

What are PC sales doing in Ireland, Netherlands, France, Denmark, Germany, Poland?

(Let's not compare Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, rest of Eastern Europe or Nordic as they are less comparable to UK).

Linux Mint at 17.x was good, Sonia Mint 18.2 with Mate desktop, some changes to defaults is even better. I'm gone from windows for over 8 months now. First used Windows seriously 1991 and Linux seriously from 1998 (servers then). Windows NT since 1994.

Home users are using phones & tablets (Android and some iOS) more than PCs now and can't stand Windows 10. Legacy Business applications is the market that HAS to buy Windows, yet 64bit is less compatible than 32 bit (esp any VB6 that does serial I/O). Windows 10 64 bit seems to be not only insane GUI, inconsistent settings (three main GUIs/places) but least compatibility. If you don't care about compatibility, why use Windows at all? (Windows Phone users and Windows ARM tablet users clued on that with now 0.2% approx. Once MS had 20%+ of PDA/Phones with Windows CE, and 98% PCs because the Desktop was only Desktop orientated and no-one expected the gadgets to run real windows applications, despite the silly copying of Win3.x/Win9x desktops. They should have stuck with Zune like tiles ONLY on phones and small tablets and not poisoned the desktop after Win7.

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Re: Comparisons?

I don't see why Germany but not Switzerland, or why Denmark but not the rest of the Nordic countries.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Comparisons?

I dont think the decline has anything to do with pricing etc.

I think we've simply hit a plateau in terms of upgrade benefit.

For example, when we went from 16mb RAM to 32mb as standard that was a big deal. The same applies for other leaps in the past e.g. smashing 1ghz, going multicore etc.

The current leap is SSDs which don't require an entirely new machine to take advantage of and benefit from.

Add to this the fact that hardware requirements vs software are generally easier to meet theae days than was possible in the past and you have a situation where upgrades arent necessary.

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Signifies the countries rise of the consumer and decline of the engineer.

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Anonymous Coward

I suspect everyone is either buying iMacs or waiting for the fab new iPhone expected in September! I can't wait!

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Waiting for new products

Don't forget the new Samsung Note that is coming. Apple is not the only game in town you know, just the most expensive one apart from some MS Surfaces.

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"waiting for the fab new iPhone expected in September! I can't wait!"

So you're buying something else instead?

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Rotten Cores

I suspect I will never in my life buy an apple product.

Having tried them extensively.

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Anonymous Coward

Will M$ be forced to do a u-turn?

~Apart from commentards, Win10 Facebook / Google like slurping rarely ever gets a mention in the MSM or by Gartner analysts etc. But M$ Win10 slurping is a huge turn off. Even to the sceptical, look at Google / Gmail...

~ By year-end Gmail will no longer slurp emails allegedly. The change arose from corporate pressure / lagging Cloud sales. So maybe M$ will have to eat its pride some day. The whole Xbox-180 fiasco showed M$ can recant.

~ The key question as per Google-Gmail is this... Will Enterprise customers eventually start asking uncomfortable questions about whether M$ is slurping info from them as well as Home users? Will that knock-on hurt Azure sales?

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Unhappy

Re: Will M$ be forced to do a u-turn?

I wish they would, but their ARROGANCE that began with the insider program for Win-10-nic suggests that they are INCORRIGIBLE and will simply go down in flames wondering "why" ...

maybe they can turn it around by *FIRING* this person, the one responsible for 'the ribbon' and 'the metro' (Sinofsky was merely a high profile scapegoat):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julie_Larson-Green

She's obviously taken the company in the WRONG direction with "one windows, everywhere". It's time to re-organize a bit. But they won't do it, for a number of reasons [some being 'political correctness' reasons, and fear].

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Coat

Re: Will M$ be forced to do a u-turn?

Why don't MS employ Poettering and complete their self destruction?

Systemd AND the Registry combine would surely cause nuclear winter in all PCS running MS.

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Logitech boost

When everybody has to replace their keyboards with new ones without the euro symbol

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This post has been deleted by its author

Now then, Harber, old son, here's what you need to do ...

In your laptops, get rid of the rubbery chiclet keyboard and use proper keyboards instead, like there are in most/all of your laptops prior to, and including T420 Thinkpad. See here for an example of what you need http://techdadreview.com/2011/09/15/lenovo-thinkpad-t420t520-laptop

If you do that, then people will be beating a path to your door!

You know it makes sense.

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Re: Now then, Harber, old son, here's what you need to do ...

"In your laptops, get rid of the rubbery chiclet keyboard and use proper keyboards instead"

I have a little MSI I use when I don;t want to take my regular laptop with me. It has a chiclet keyboard and I don't give the difference a moment's thought. Press key and character appears on screen. That's what matters.

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Crapner at it again again

PC sales are down worldwide so why would Brexit or the UK election have any significant effect on sales. Crapner has not got the message the PC market has changed in the last several years.

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Re: Crapner at it again again

There's down (3%) and very down (11%)

But in the other hand, stagnant wages and high inflation caused by a 15-20% drop in the value of a currency will obviously cause a large reduction in elective spending.

I'm surprised that the UK market isn't worse.

Although there might be a buying spree before Brexit itself actually happens, especially given our current abject failure to actually do any negotiations or even to set out what our Government wants. Still shocked that Mrs May threw away the first six months and yet still has no position.

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Headmaster

Re: "has not got the message"

I think you'll find that it's the PC manufacturers who haven't got the message, or at least haven't got a plan B to deal with the message, and that Gartner is merely conducting the analysis it has been commissioned to by a consortium of those manufacturers, probably as an early warning system that will alert them to bail out shortly before the ship finally sinks.

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