New PC form factors drive IT sector sales growth in the UK

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GfK stats shows IT based consumer goods sales are only reason for cheer, with a TV market reaching saturation point and economic gloom persisting

Driving growth through innovation, and with positive sales for tablets and ultrabooks, the IT sector has outstripped all other areas of consumer goods.

According to GfK, sales for IT goods, such as laptops, PCs and tablets, were the only area to see growth in the first quarter of the year, with sales rising 8.7 percent on a yearly basis to £2.57 billion.

This compares with consumer electronics, classed by GfK as entertainment items such as TVs and blu-ray players, which fell 20.4 percent to £1.53 billion.

Overall the GfK figures show that technical consumer goods are down 7.2 percent, to £6.78 billion.

The reason that the IT sector is managing to outperform other areas despite continued economic gloom, is that there is a considerable amount of innovation going at the moment with PC form factors, GfK Business Group Director Carl West told ChannelBiz.

“Innovation is really driving some resistance in the sense of the economic pressures,” West says.

“Within IT we are seeing innovation due to tablets, tablets are experiencing anything between 100 and 400 percent growth over the last year depending which period you are looking at.”

On the other hand consumer electronics is largely hampered by the maturing LCD TV market in the UK, a problem which has reverberated down the supply chain to vendors.

“If you look at CE, outside of the digital switch-over with spikes in sales of set top boxes, everyone has got a flat screen television,” West says.

“Large screen television is reaching saturation point.  The only place we are seeing growth is in the supersize 43 inch and above flat panels, or with DVD combos.

“Innovation and new form factor of the tablet has added to a reasonably strong base of PC sales, with notebooks and netbooks.”

He says that one of the shining lights of the market is the introduction of ultrabooks, championed by Intel, with sales starting to pick up.

“Ultrabooks are definitely beginning to have an impact, it was now we are seeing more and more models hit the market, as a form factor it is growing.

“It has definitely added value to the PC market.”

With Ultrabook and tablets booming he says that the IT sector is set grow and “continue to grow the value of the IT market” over the coming months.

With prices coming down on external storage drives this could have some pressure on the segment West says, but this will be counterbalanced by a raft of new devices Ultrabook and tablet devices coming out, not to mention AMD’s Ultrathins.


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