It seems that the traditional 'beginning of the year slump' is extending a little further than usual this year.

Slower machines for slow times

One of the main responses put forward by retailers is that sales are down by nearly a quarter compared to the previous year. Perhaps it’s the rising fuel, food and utility costs that are dissuading customers from committing their money to a purchase, perhaps it’s economic uncertainty.

Either way, the reluctance of customers to spend their cash on a PC is translating to popularity for entry to middle level devices, with limited specs and a low price point.

Our top selling laptop is the HP G56 for the second month in a row. This device features the ever-popular Intel T4500 processor, the same as in the Dell Inspiron 1545, 4GB of RAM and 500GB of storage memory. On top of that respectable spec sheet, the device has also been praised for its relatively long battery life, which is an often-overlooked sales point.

Most importantly, the G56 is available in most places for less than £400, and it is not alone in offering such a price point. The Packard Bell Timeline and the Acer Aspire both offer low-cost brand power, while the Advent Modena is essentially a low-cost white label product.

The desktop charts offer similar conclusions – both HP devices can be bought for well under £400, while the Compaq is being offered at £300. The other two machines, the Packard Bell iMedia and the One Two are being promoted as part of a bundle, with peripherals being offered along with the touch screen base unit.

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