Gartner: UK PC market stayed on its knees in Q2
Will 'solid growth' ever return?
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 in 2011.
Shipments into the channel declined 7.6 per cent to 2.5 million units in Q2 compared to the same period a year earlier, Gartner said.
The market was "depressed across the board" said Ranjit Atwal, research director at the abacus-stroking market estimator.
The top three vendors all fared worse than the market average, with HP down 11.7 per cent, Dell collapsing 23.2 per cent and Acer unit sales-in down 14 per cent.
Only fifth-placed Apple and fourth-placed Toshiba reported growth in unit sales to IT wholesalers; the pair were up 10 per cent and 50 per cent respectively. It should be noted, though, that Toshiba's gains were against a backdrop of a very weak Q2 2011.
"The real worry for the UK PC market is whether it will ever return to solid growth," said Atwal.
"Windows 8 and Ultrabooks now look even more important. However messages emerging from the PC supply chain remain inconsistent and largely uninspiring," he added.
Gartner claimed the channel is holding back on new shipment orders until the Christmas quarter.
The market across Western Europe declined 2.4 per cent in Q2 with 13.6 million boxes sold to distributors. The market in France was up marginally at 0.7 per cent and down 6.5 per cent in Germany. ®
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.