Consumer spending fuels PC boom

UK PC sales are growing at their highest rate since 2000, mostly driven by consumers shopping for bargains, according to IDC

Consumer spending and the continued boom in laptop computer sales in the third quarter fuelled the strongest growth in the UK's PC market since 2000, according to figures published on Monday by research firm IDC.

UK PC sales for the third quarter were 17.4 percent up on the same quarter a year ago, IDC said. The figures are the latest encouraging sign for the IT industry, following strong worldwide semiconductor sales figures announced on Monday.

The biggest contributions to growth in the third quarter were strong notebook sales, with growth of 39.6 percent year-on-year, and consumer spending, fuelled by vendors' price cuts. Consumer laptop sales grew more than 90 percent year-on-year, as many individuals chose to upgrade their desktops with a portable system, IDC said.

Consumer desktop sales also outpaced commercial purchases with 13.7 percent growth year-on-year, compared with 9 percent for the desktop segment overall. IDC said that the seasonal back-to-school demand for PCs, along with lower prices, helped spur consumer sales.

On the commercial front, the majority of growth was seen from small and medium-sized businesses, although corporate upgrades are beginning to kick in, IDC said. Commercial notebooks grew 25.8 percent year-on-year, with desktop sales increasing 5.9 percent. Sales of x86-based servers grew 19.2 percent year-on-year.

Dell took the lead as the largest PC vendor in the UK for the first time since the HP-Compaq merger, controlling 22 percent of the market. HP dropped to second, with 18.4 percent.

IDC warned that further price cuts, while necessary to fuel growth, could be dangerous for vendors, as profit margins are increasingly being squeezed.