Brexploitation! PC price wars? Yep. Vendors see who can go higher

Tech disties paying up to 42% more for computers since vote

Computer trade prices have surged in the year since the EU referendum with currency and component shortages fingered, at least according to sales data from tech distributors.

The stats, collated by channel analyst Context, showed average sales prices (ASPs) on consumer and business machines sold to wholesalers in the UK swelled 42 per cent to £475 in April/May compared to a year ago.

El Reg hasn't noticed prices of finished products available on the High Street or online rising by that amount, but hey, that's what the numbers stated.

Across the Channel in mainland Europe, the increases were less marked: up 18 per cent in Sweden and Poland, 12 per cent in Germany, 11 per cent in Spain, Austria and Portugal, 10 per cent in Italy and 7 per cent in France.

"PC ASPs have been on the rise since Q3 2016," said Marie-Christine Pigott, senior analyst at Context. "The increase has been driven by currency fluctuations, price increases by vendors to offset the effects of higher component costs, and also by a shift to higher-value products such as gaming systems in the consumer segment and powerful, high-end notebooks in the commercial sector."

PC vendors did start to raise prices following the Brexit vote on June 23 last year: Dell was first but it was followed by HP Inc, Lenovo, Apple, and Asus.

It is correct that sterling slumped against the US dollar, falling by up to a fifth at one point last summer, but nowhere near the 42 per cent that distributors are said to have encountered.

And it is also correct that some components were in short supply, particularly NAND flash, but given the slowdown in smartphone sales growth, and sliding PC shipments, it is not clear why this was the case.

El Reg wonders if PC vendors will be so quick to correct prices when the pound starts to strengthen again at some point in the next hundred years or so. Probably not. ®

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