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By | Paul Kunert 4th May 2012 11:25

Channel defies gloom, ships £400m kit in Q1

Analyst: Revenues jump by 10%

The UK channel raised a metaphorical middle finger to economists talking up the recession by shipping £400m worth of computing kit in Q1.

This represents almost a 10 per cent jump in revenues on last year, with fondleslabs up 174.5 per cent, notebooks up 8.6 per cent and desktops up 11.5 per cent, channel number-cruncher Context reveals. "There was a rebound in Q1," said Jeremy Davies, CEO at the analyst. "It looks likely that some were deferred purchases and end-of-year budget flushing that helped pick up the numbers."

But the rise in revenues was attributed to higher ASPs on tablets and Ultrabooks, having a favourable impact on the product sales mix.

Notebooks accounted for the lion's share of UK computing sales (nearly 57 per cent) but of the top five vendors only market leader HP and second placed Lenovo grew, rising 21.4 per cent and 61.4 per cent respectively.

Third-placed vendor Toshiba saw revenues drop 24.5 per cent, Samsung was down 18.8 per cent and Acer dropped by 14.9 per cent.

Davies pointed out that some of the smaller players also took market share, with sixth-placed Asus up 109 per cent and Fujitsu increasing revenues by 32.8 per cent.

Sony is now just a bit-part player in the UK computing space, as sales collapsed 63.5 per cent leaving it with a market share of just 1.4 per cent compared to 4.4 per cent in Q1 2011.

On the desktop front, HP declined 5.6 per cent but still exited the quarter with 50 per cent market share. Lenovo also moved into second spot in this sector after sales climbed 71 per cent. Acer saw some recovery, up 9.1 per cent.

Apple and Fujitsu – in fourth and fifth place – grew 41 per cent and 11.3 per cent respectively.

In terms of the slabs that consumers like to fondle, Apple maintained a strange hold in the channel but Context numbers show that Samsung was "pushing hard", the analyst said.

Davies claimed it was too early to predict whether the rest of the year would be buoyant or if this is a bubble that could burst.

"The numbers are counter-intuitive; we are in the middle of a downturn, everyone is talking about recession but businesses are continuing to buy PCs, especially SMEs," he said. ®

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