Our Context Analyzer SalesWatch tracker found that throughout 2009 PC desktop sales in UK distribution were strongly affected by the increasingly saturated demand for deskbound solutions, the rising popularity of mobile systems, and credit-crunch financial constraints on users.
However, the first half of 2010 saw PC desktops in UK distribution begin to recover. We found that sales started to benefit from a renewed and stronger-than-expected demand.
Desktop unit sales in UK distribution grew by a consolidated eight per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2010 – and 20 per cent year-on-year in the second. And while early Q3 saw a slowdown when compared with the extraordinary performance in Q2, especially in April, growth continued to be healthy. July saw a 12 per cent year-on-year sales increase.
Volume growth artifically boosted
Volume growth in the first half of 2010 and the start of Q3 was to some extent boosted artificially by the weak comparison period last year, when the financial crisis and popularity of mobile offerings slashed sales. It is hard to say what part of this year’s desktop unit growth was real growth, but there is new user interest in this product category, especially among consumers.
Our figures show mobile hardware still in demand in private households, but new desktop technologies and designs have also contributed strongly to rising consumer sales in 2010 to date. Windows consumer systems sales surged 123 per cent in Q2 year-on-year.
Business OS-based machine sales, however, grew just four per cent during the same period, albeit from a much larger base. The picture is similar when looking at the beginning of the third quarter. In July, taking into account those desktops based on the top Windows operating systems, consumer systems sales more than doubled, while business OS-based desktops actually contracted six per cent compared with last year.
Private users have come back to desktops partly because of the improved multitouch functionality in Windows 7–based all-in-one desktops. Multitouch support further boosted all-in-one desktop sales in the first half of 2010. And the beginning of Q3, which traditionally sees industry players begin to prepare for the back-to-school season, further increased the momentum.
All-in-one desktop systems sales through our UK distribution panel quadrupled in July versus last year, and increased 70 per cent in the month. So all-in-one desktops saw their volume share increase in July to almost 10 per cent, up from two per cent in July 2009 and seven per cent in June.
Windows consumer desktops
All-in-one desktops still are only a small proportion of sales. However, Windows consumer desktops in particular are a much larger and faster-growing unit share.
The all-in-ones had a 29 per cent share of the consumer OS-based desktop market in July, up from nine per cent last year and 13 per cent in June. And our data shows that the systems’ revenue share of the overall desktop market in UK distribution was almost 15 per cent in July.
Although their revenue share is at least partly due to the bundling of monitors, upping their average selling price, this is still good news.
In July, the all-in-one unit share of Windows consumer desktops was up 20 percentage points from last year, from 8.6 per cent in July 2009 to 29 per cent in July 2010. Revenue share was up 22 percentage points during the period, from 18 per cent last year to 40 per cent in July 2010.
Given the product diversification, and back-to-school and pre-Christmas consumer demand, all-in-ones are likely to further increase their unit share of the UK desktop market this second half.
Marie-Christine Pygott is a senior research analyst at Context
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