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Laptops dominate UK spending in personal computing kit

Tablets racing to catch up

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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 December 2010 and January 2011, saw increases in all key computing areas but one.

No prizes for guessing that tablets showed the biggest increase in unit sales: GfK recorded growth of more than 100 per cent year on year. Conversely, netbook demand was well down, with unit sales falling 56 per cent.

A year ago, netbooks' share of purchases matched that of desktop machines, but this time round the latter experienced growth of ten per cent. Desktops are generally considered to be on their slow way out, out-evolved by notebooks.

It's true, far more laptops were purchased than desktops, but the former segment's share of overall purchases fell by a percentage point year on year. Unit sales rose by just over a percentage point.

Falling prices pushed notebooks' share of the money spent by purchasers from 41 per cent to 32 per cent. But laptops still account for the bulk of spending on personal computing kit. Desktops come in at 12 per cent, tablets at 17 per cent.

Other stats: software unit sales rose 11 per cent year on year, while media-streaming set-top boxes jumped more than 100 per cent. That tablet-matching growth needs to be put in context: far, far fewer set-tops were purchased than tablets. ®

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