The market research firm points to huge consumer demand for portable PCs – which account for over 30 per cent of overall IT hardware and software sales – as the main driving force behind the growth. Rising trends in social media, popularised by bodies such as Youtube.com, are also identified as important factors. This is highlighted by huge growth in sales of peripherals such as multimedia cards, web cams and PC speakers.
Elsewhere, digital photo frame sales increased in popularity dramatically in the latter half of the year, after starting with relatively modest sales of 3,000 units a month. Sales increased to 7,000 units in October and soared to 100,000 over the Christmas period – bringing the value of the market up to around £1,000,000 in December alone.
There were some market segments that experienced decline, most notably monitors, printers and multi disk drives. Disappointing display sales were mainly linked with a downtrend of the desktop market.
“Falling price barriers have been the most significant trend in 2006,” said Anthony Norman, business group director at GfK. “There are, however, signs that this is nearing an end, specifically within the major product groups. With the launch of Windows Vista the PC market is expecting to have an even stronger impact on the total IT market in 2007, not in the least due to higher hardware requirements for running it. In particular, memory vendors and storage manufacturers are looking positively toward the launch as Vista promises better performance while creating demand for more memory, additional storage and wider screens.”