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Mini PCs growing in popularity

An analysis of the sales through Western distributors in Q1 from Context has revealed strong demand for Mini PCs

Most of the comments about the performance of the PC market is laden with negativity but those channel players that have been supplying small devices should have found the start of the year a positive one.

The popularity of Mini PCs, which have the advantage of delivering the same performance of a larger product but with a much smaller physical footprint, has been growing.

The latest numbers from Context reveal that the number of mini PCs going through distribution in Western Europe went up by 26% in the first quarter year-on-year.

Overall the desktop PC market declined by 10% but the Mini form factor defied gravity and now accounts for a quarter of the market share.

"Mini PCs have enjoyed rising popularity over the past year because of their space-saving design and improvements to their performance, and many PC vendors have increased their focus on the segment to leverage rising demand", said Marie-Christine Pygott, senior analyst at Context.

The analyst house also charted the popularity of the leading vendors in distribution with HP, Intel and Lenovo leading the market with year-on-year volume growth of 47%, 8% and 78% respectively.

The numbers from Context come on the back of the Q1 analysis from both Gartner and IDC. Although the analyst houses might have differed over the overall units shipped they both highlighted the ongoing spending in the commercial PC segment.

The Context findings added to that provide an even clearer idea for the channel of where commercial customers are choosing to spend at the moment. It also underlined the top three players, which might end up being the only horses the channel can back, that are likely to continue to dominate the market.

"Vendors who do not have a strong presence in the business market will encounter major problems, and they will be forced to exit the PC market in the next five years. However, there will also be specialized niche players with purpose-built PCs, such as gaming PCs and ruggedized laptops," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.

"The top three vendors — Lenovo, HP and Dell — will battle for the large-enterprise segment. The market has extremely limited opportunities for vendors below the top three, with the exception of Apple, which has a solid customer base in specific verticals," she said.

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