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Workers shifting away from desktops in search for flexibility

Pressure on the humble desktop continues with charting its decline in the workplace

The PC market exited 2018 bruised by CPU shortages and growing political  uncertainty and the forecasts for the year ahead have been fairly muted from the large analyst houses.

Earlier this week Gartner revealed that the second half of last year had seen market fortunes downturn but pointed out that external factors were largely to blame and things could start to ease off for the better.

“Just when demand in the PC market started seeing positive results, a shortage of CPUs (central processing units) created supply chain issues. After two quarters of growth in 2Q18 and 3Q18, PC shipments declined in the fourth quarter,” said Mikako Kitagawa, senior principal analyst at Gartner.

The leading PC vendors - Lenovo, HP and Dell - continue to fight it out for market share but the number of users opting to have a desktop in the office has dipped under half of the UK workforce.

Research from has found that only 42% of UK workers use a desktop and 26% of those expect to move to a laptop over the next 12 months.

The etailer found that 38% of workers are already using a laptop and 22% have chosen to use a tablet as their weapon of choice in the workplace.

In terms of vertical markets the desktop has fallen out of favour most in retail, then in order of decline hospitality and leisure, marketing and creative, construction and professional services.

"More and more we’re hearing from our business customers that not only do clients expect workers to be able to work on the go, but increasingly the generation Z and millennial aged workforces climbing today’s career ladder expect a degree of flex on working hours and patterns. Which requires devices that enable them to work remotely or on the move," said Mark Kelly, marketing manager at

Laptops and tablets have gained in popularity because of the flexibility and most vendors have moved to offer ultrathin amd 2-in-1 products to meet that demand.

“Combined with the findings that workers feel more productive in the office, and more motivated to do their best work, when upgraded to a laptop or tech gadget, it really is a no-brainer to picture what offices today should comprise of. It feels like the desktop PCs has had its day. They don’t lend well to the open-plan, flexible working offices of today, or the need for businesses to respond to today’s fast pace of working and ‘always on’ approach to business," added Kelly.

There will be some in the PC industry arguing against that conclusion, pointing to the run up to the expiration of support around Windows 7 as a reason why investment will continue across 2019.

Almost half of UK and US organisations surveyed by market research firm Censuswide are still using Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system.

The survey of 160 UK and 160 US organisations, carried out on behalf of software-defined delivery specialist Kollective, looked at the potential costs and security threats of staying on Windows 7 beyond Microsoft’s support deadline of 14 January 2020. The firm found that 17% of IT departments were unaware of the end of life deadline giving the channel plenty of customers to pitch an upgrade and migration message to.

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