PC sales get that post-Brexit vote sinking feeling

Price rises led to fewer shipments but.....

PC makers - ones that use middlemen to reach customers - are selling fewer boxes in the UK but generating more cash from them because of post-Brexit vote price rises and demand shifting to higher-end gear.

Shipments into distributors in Britain fell 12 per cent year on year in Q4 to a little more than one million units: consumer machines fell 19 per cent to 581k and business PCs dipped one per cent to 559k.

"The reason we have seen a really strong fall is average sales prices has gone up significantly since the EU referendum and due to rising component costs," said Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at Context.

Every major PC manufacturer put up its prices after 24 June in 2016, blaming the slide in the British pound. The median sales tag on PCs was 20 per cent higher in Q4 at £440.

Notebook shipments into the channel fell 13.6 per cent to 825k, desktops were down 6.2 per cent to 202k, but workstations were up, albeit from a relatively small base.

Pygott said price rises didn't tell the whole story of the UK PC market in Q4: there was a shift to the higher end bracket, above £800, as distributors ordered in thin and light ranges. And from a revenue perspective, UK revenues from those PCs shipped grew 7 per cent to £447m.

The same dynamics were also seen across Western Europe where unit sales fell 8.7 per cent to 5.9 million with both business and consumer products down. Again prices went up - from €507 and €567 due to component rises and some impact from a weaker euro in relation to the US dollar.

The value of PCs sold into distributors across the region went up 2.8 per cent to €3.4bn. ®

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