The personal computer revolutionised the lives of early adopters in the 1980’s when it became available to consumers around the world, allowing us to work with the latest tech in both our homes and places of work.
PC sales have been in a steady decline over the last decade with newer technology making an entrance into global markets. But things seem to have turned around, as some of the leading retailers in the UK saw a sensational increase in PC sales last year, with some product categories more than doubling in sales revenue compared to the year prior.
For John Lewis, 2020 will go down as one of the most remarkable years in their more than 150-year long history. Commenting on last year’s sales, Ollie Holt, Senior Programmatic & Affiliate Executive at John Lewis said:
“There’s no question, 2020 will be remembered as the year that changed everything. As well as reconfiguring our living spaces into offices, schools and gyms, we treated ourselves to new technology, from new laptops to TV’s. Working from home technology saw huge demand last year as many of us logged onto work and school from home. Affiliate sales across computing categories at John Lewis were up by over 70% compared to 2019 and we expect demand to continue as many upgrade their technology this year."
Another retailer who witnessed this trend is UK online technology retailer Technoworld, where Paresh Pau, CEO & Founder of the company, said they changed their business strategy in order to accommodate new consumer needs:
“Technoworld has seen a huge shift in demand since the start of the pandemic. Our sales revenue on products that enhance remote working has more than doubled; including webcams, headsets, and desktop minis. We have adapted our strategy to cater for these new market trends, as millions of people across the UK are now studying or working from home. 2020 was truly a year like no other.”
Digging deeper into the numbers, independent comparison site PriceRunner analysed consumer data on more than 1.6 million products from over 5,000 retailers on their site, arriving at a similar conclusion. The demand for computers, monitors, keyboards and similar “older” consumer technology skyrocketed in the UK last year.
“The pandemic created an extraordinary need for older tech products we predicted to have become extinct by now. You could say that were more than surprised by our own data reviewing 2020, where some product categories had increased by 500% or more! This trend is not showing any signs of slowing down either. Our numbers show a continued strong trend that was even greater during the first few weeks of 2021.”said Christine Gouldthorp, Consumer Expert at PriceRunner.
The trend of releasing more agile and smarter products has become the new norm, with major retailers launching newer and better consumer products every year. Adam Wileman, Affiliate Manager at online electrical retailer Ebuyer, said:
“2020 was an unprecedented year for the technology market that saw the rise of working from home. This helped the revival of desktops, laptops and printers to make working from home as comfortable and easy as possible.
I feel that over the last couple of years, people were leaning towards the more compact devices such as tablets and mobile phones for their home technology needs, but during the pandemic, customers have gone back to the trusted technology that they know will work and make life working from home enjoyable.”
Analysing just how their needs changed in 2020, PriceRunner took a look at consumer behaviour on their website, finding a large number of products with a revival in 2020. These were for example computer monitors, laptops, keyboards, printers, desktop computers and computer mice.
How much each product category grew between January to December in 2020 can be found in the table below:
The data in the table is based on clicks from PriceRunner’s website out to a retailers’ website. The numbers in the table are index numbers, where January 2020 is index 100, meaning total demand was up by 2,5 times in December 2020, or 256%.
Which were the most popular products making a comeback?
Computer mice was the category with the most impressive growth last year, by a whopping 882% in December 2020 compared to January the same year. The most popular computer mouse in the UK was the Logitech MX Master 3, accounting for 16.5% of total interest in the product category.
Christine Gouldthorp said: “Although it might not look like your typical computer mouse, I am not surprised this one came out on top. As we spent so much time at home last year our tools must be adaptable for every need. This one is perfect for gaming, graphic design work or even leisurely scrolling, making it the most popular choice in the UK last year”.
Another category with a remarkable surge in popularity in 2020 was laptops. The most popular one of all was the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 i5, accounting for 5% of all clicks out to a retailer website.
We were looking for new laptops last year like never before. On average, Brits clicked from PriceRunner’s website out to a retailer 20 times an hour to find themselves a new laptop, or once every three minutes.
PriceRunner is the UK's independent price comparison service with over 1,600,000 products from more than 5,000 retailers. PriceRunner was founded in 1999 and is primarily active in Sweden, Denmark and the UK. We are a team of 150 ambitious PriceRunners who work to develop the most loved service for comparison shopping. PriceRunner is completely independent; we are not owned by or dependent on any manufacturer, retailer or other organisation that might have an interest in providing biased information. PriceRunner's mission is to help consumers find better products and better prices. Every month we help hundreds of thousands of consumers to find better, cheaper products and save money by comparing prices for a particular product.