Direct PC sales continue to drop in UK market


Direct PC sales continue to drop in UK market

Microscope contributor

Analyst numbers have shown that once again the general sales trend in the UK PC market has shifted in favour of the channel.

According to IDC, 18% of all PC shipments in 2009 were direct, down from 24% a year earlier.

The rise of Asian PC vendors that sell exclusively through partners is a major reason for the trend said IDC research director Ezster Morvay but this was not the only factor.

"Corporate enterprise suffered the most and that is where the biggest proportion of direct sales are transacted," she told MicroScope.

Some vendors are rubbing their hands together in anticipation of a corporate refresh expected in the second half of the year.

However, Steve Brazier, CEO at channel analysts Canalys predicted that in the long term direct selling will diminish in this sector as well.

"The margins are getting slimmer and slimmer, as soon as a vendor is involved they have high costs of labour, have to provide company cars, health insurance and generally better salaries and career paths," said Brazier.

"It will be harder and harder to justify those kinds of people in a lower margin business," he added.

Ranjit Atwal, principal analyst at Gartner, said: "Direct only works in the corporate enterprise when the volumes are high otherwise the economies of scale don't add up."

Resellers will be wondering how the vendors shape up in the UK but the fact is both Gartner and IDC figures were markedly different.

For the purposes of interest, Gartner said 20% of HP PC sales were direct in 2009 up from 18% a year earlier, Dell dropped to 80% from 85%, Fujitsu went up to 10% from 7% and Lenovo remained constant at 30%.

IDC said HP direct sales accounted for 10% of its shipments - HP itself admits to selling 25% of PC shipments directly - and Dell's direct sales dropped from 69% a year ago to 62%.

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