Sales of home computers have slowed dramatically, according to data group GfK Marketing Services.
In the year to January 1996, sales of home computers bought in high street outlets such as Dixons and Comet grew by 110 per cent over the previous year. In the year to January 1997, sales were only 20 per cent up.
These depressed figures will have an enormous impact, not only on the 800m home computer industry, but also on the Internet industry which depends for growth on the spread of computers into the home.
GfK says the high price of computers is one of the main reasons for the slowdown in sales: “Price is one of the barriers which restricts sales. If you are not into playing games it is difficult to see why you would need a computer,” says GfK account manager Martin New.
In the US, the average price of a computer is about 700, and home penetration is at 40 per cent. In the UK the average price of a PC is 1,300, and home penetration is 18 per cent.
New adds: “Home penetration is at 40 per cent among professional ABC1s. But among social groups in the C2DEs category it is only nine per cent. That market accounts for 56 per cent of the population. They are not convinced they need a computer.”