Christmas came late to the PC market last year with consumers preferring to wait for the traditional post-Christmas bun fight at the January sales. Many vendors who reported a slower than expected build-up to Christmas have seen a growth in sales almost as the Christmas pudding was digesting.
"Consumers are not stupid," said Chris Buckham, marketing director at Mitubishi UK. "Like most expensive buys, they tend to wait a week to see if there are any reductions to be had in the sales. The run-up to Christmas was very disappointing but volumes are going up more quickly than expected now."
High street chain Tiny Computers saw a similar pattern over the festive period, although the company was shy on giving details about its own performance. "We're happy with the sales over Christmas and the New Year," said Tiny marketing executive David English, who wasn't prepared to comment on whether or not these figures were better than expected.
Fujitsu also saw a late surge in its sales which helped the company achieve a record fourth quarter. Marketing manager Charles Bows said that as well as seasonal sales in the consumer market, the company also achieved "good growth" in business and corporate markets.
Most companies however, do fear that this growth will be short-lived as consumers bare the brunt of seasonal spending. Buckham also suggested that many consumers may be waiting for Pentium II price falls and Windows 98 before making any buying decisions, and that they could defer further sales until the back-end of this year.