Low-cost notebooks keep PC market growing

Low-cost notebooks helped make it a decent start to the year in the PC hardware segment according to the latest market analysis from Context

The UK continues to be a strong market for desktop PCs and laptops with the start of the year continuing in the same vein as 2014 with unit shipments in double figures.

The latest numbers from analyst house Context, which gets its data directly from distribution, revealed that in January the UK delivered 19.1% year-on-year growth in PC shipments.

Overall across Europe there was growth in the PC hardware category of 9.5% in January, which came on the back of 20.1% growth in Q4 last year, with the channel noticing a positive Christmas hangover of low-cost consumer notebooks.

In some respects the market has returned to normal seasonal patterns with the traditionally strong end of the year helping things start off in January on a decent footing.

The performance on the business side of the market showed a continued slow down as the need for users to invest in new kit to migrate away from Windows XP is becoming less of an issue. As a result desktop sales dropped by 14.3% in the first month. But enterprise laptops defied gravity with sales up 23.8% year-on-year.

"The strong Q4 sell-in of budget notebooks and Bing laptops not only benefited consumer sales in the channel in January but also helped to push volume growth in the business segment”, said Marie-Christine, senior analyst at Context. “Nearly 16% of business-targeted Notebooks going through distribution in January were based on Bing."  

From being on its deathbed with plenty already happy to read the last rites the PC market delivered a fairly good performance last year and although the same doubters are lining up to call time on the XP refresh there seems to be some life in the hardware segment.

Context is predicting that the channel will get to enjoy selling budget notebooks over the next few months on the back of the push made by vendors in Q3 and Q4 last year. The Bing initiative, which was announced last May, should also have an on-going influence on the channel even after it ends.

In addition to that there are also expectations that desktop prices for distribution will increase as a result of exchange rate pressures on the dollar making it slightly more interesting across Europe.

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