The UK tech industry expects retailers to be more bullish than usual over price cuts during the busy fourth quarter.
Tablets were a top-seller last Christmas and several vendors have told PCR they expect demand for the devices to continue this year, which could cause retailers to battle harder for market share.
A European sales boss at a well-known vendor said: “I think [competition] is going to be fierce this year, especially with the internet boys. Amazon are trying to take over the world, aren’t they?”
Cooler Master’s sales manager Adrian Liu added: “Competition is going to be really strong this year. With games like Minecraft getting increasingly popular, more PC gamers are buying hardware. It’s going to be booming.”
Target Components MD Paul Cubbage offered a distributor’s perspective. “Tablets were competitive last year, but will it be even more ruthless this year?” he said.
“Online is always ruthless [with pricing] and headline products will always cause retailers to fight each other.
“I’m expecting a big battle over tablets this year, especially if sales aren’t as strong or if there’s an emergent shift in technology.”
Other vendors remained cautiously optimistic for the computer/tech sector in the run up to Christmas.
“It’s starting to feel like the market is picking up,” said Lee Sharrocks,
Kaspersky Lab’s B2C director for UK and Ireland. “The major retailers I’ve spoken to are quite bullish about peak this year. It’s always competitive at retail, but I think people don’t want another miserable Christmas, quite frankly, so all the retailers seem to be lined up on having a good peak.
“I think it will be good for all vendors if we can have a strong peak, that will launch us well into 2014.”
Biostar’s sales account manager Martin Thyssen commented: “The wow factor for tablets has kind of ended, and I feel the PC market has bottomed out now, so I feel very optimistic going into the peak period.”
Dixons Retail CEO Sebastian James said: “It’s always a big gamble at Christmas and there’s always a lot of competition.
“We’re cautious about it and we’ve made room to grow if it is good. We’ll have to see how it goes.”