Competition hotting up across the channel

PCR editor Dominic Sacco shares his views on the fierce PC market
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PCR editor Dominic Sacco shares his views on the fierce PC market and recent pricing pressures.

Competition is hotting up across the channel, with price cuts and close rivals fiercely contesting one another.

Looking back on Q1 2015, PC vendors scrambled to sell off cut-price Bing notebook stock built up late last year, and while average selling prices rose overall, pricing pressure brought many premium SKUs into formerly mid-range pricing tiers, according to IDC.

Vendors are also being hit hard by unfavourable currency exchange rates, causing a decline in PC sales – and Gartner expects an even bigger currency impact in Q2. This could lead to a price hike in the consumer PC sector, with vendors set to lower product specs to keep prices aggressive.

I’ve said before that competition is key to a healthy market, but of course there are times when rivalries can turn ugly. Just as PCR was going to press this issue, the European Commission opened an antitrust investigation into Google’s conduct regarding its Android OS, and allegations the search giant is “abusing” its dominant market position by favouring its own shopping comparison product over rival sites.

Elsewhere, Ebuyer is still thinking about opening its first High Street stores, which will no doubt give Currys/PC World a bit of a headache. The etailer successfully trialled physical sales for the first time at the Gadget Show Live in April, so don’t be surprised if a big announcement is made in the next 12 months. Ebuyer is keeping its enemies close too – it’s started supplying the likes of Amazon with its own Sond audio products.

Meanwhile, old rivalries live on – AMD is expected to announce a fresh line-up of GPUs to rival Nvidia’s 970/980 and Titan X in the coming months, so keep an eye on the Computex trade show in Taiwan in early June (and the PCR website) for the latest developments in that hotly contested area.

It’s certainly a dog eat dog world out there, so make sure you get yourself down to the PCR Boot Camp conference and expo on May 14th at Whittlebury Hall – and learn how to beat your competition more effectively. 

About the author

Dominic Sacco is editor of PCR.

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