The UK channel is reaping the benefits of disties bursting with stock as sell-through figures have boomed 13.5 per cent annually in the second quarter, according to Context.
Last week, IDC said high channel inventory levels partly led to a 22 per cent PC shipment slump across EMEA in Q2 as vendors erred on the side of caution when selling to the channel. But Context said its channel sell-through data shows that brimming distie stockrooms are prompting growth in end-user sales in the UK.
For Q2, Context claims PC sales through distributors across the UK grew annually by 13.5 per cent to 740,000 units of desktops, notebooks, netbooks and workstations combined.
The analyst said that last year's Q2 was particularly bad, which is partly to blame for the comparatively high growth rate, but added that the UK channel is not bearing the brunt of the ailing PC market.
Context's senior analyst for personal systems Marie-Christine Pygott claimed attitude and buying habits in the UK mean it fares better than its European counterparts.
"The UK is performing a bit better specifically in UK distribution data, but it is important to note that it is compared to a very weak quarter last year," she said. "However, it is doing better [than those in Europe].
"Feedback from vendors says that the UK is driven by price aggressiveness and is a promotion-based market where the user mentality is to go for what is on offer and to use up their budget. If it means they have to upgrade later, they will. Other countries want a certain spec and will wait until the price comes down."
Inventory woes ahead?
Pygott added that the UK PC market growth is also driven by distributors pushing out excess stock – levels of which are slowly creeping up.
"Some of [the growth] is down to disties pushing out excess stock. There has been some stock management due to the new Haswell processors, and from a sell-in point of view, vendors have been very careful because of the existing stock and continuous weak demand... but this is an improvement for disties as they sell out.
"We have had some vendor feedback that there has been some inventory around. Across Europe, inventory is building up again. Vendors overestimated the demand for PCs and underestimated that for tablets. There were hopes Windows 8 would change that, but that did not happen, so inventory has built up, and we have had comments that there is quite a bit of stock around the channel."
Alex Tatham (pictured), sales and marketing director at distributor Westcoast, said he sees nothing unusual in his firm's PC inventory levels and that its PC business is brisk.
"Our PC business has never been healthier. Have we got tonnes of old stock? No more than normal," he said. "We are always looking to get rid of it and siphon it through [so there are] always deals going on.
"We tend to be able to speak to vendors and say ‘help us get rid of other stuff and we will get rid of the new stuff'. If we can't get rid of that, we can't buy the new stuff – that tends to be a catalyst."
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