Sales of desktop PCs continue to decline in favour of notebooks ? especially netbooks ? and December was no exception. Retail channel desktop sales were down 27 per cent compared to December 2007.

All-in-one desktops boost the market

In fact, the sales of desktops have declined so much that in 2008 the retail PC market was split 15 per cent desktop and 85 per cent mobile, in comparison to a 25 per cent share for desktop PCs in 2007. There is, however, some positive news on the desktop markets.

Despite the falling sales, desktop PCs are seeing an increase in average price over the past year, and in December 2008 they rose to £414: a £35 increase compared to December 2007. In fact, deskbound prices have risen steadily since the seasonal back-to-school lows of August, to reach a high in November of £439.

This increase in prices can be linked to an rise in sales of all-in-one entertainment products, which in December accounted for around 11 per cent of all deskbound sales.

These all-in-one products have a built-in screen and a much higher specification compared to the average desktop. The average price of an all-in-one PC with a 22-inch or 24-inch screen is currently around £1,050 versus the non all-in-one deskbound average of £351.

Consequently it is easy to see how the overall average price can increase as the share of all-in-ones increases.

Pre-installed memory has also shown some interesting developments, for the whole of 2007 all-in-one desktops contained only two GB of RAM or less. By the end of 2008, desktops with four GB memory reached a peak of 28 per cent. Looking at the whole of 2008, 11 per cent of all-in-ones had four GB of memory. When this compares with standard desktops, which were quicker to adopt the three GB and four GB memory options (though their share remains much lower), just seven per cent of non all-in-ones had four GB memory.

Finally it is the screen size which is the key to the success of the all-in-one, as the product strives to be a complete entertainment centre. The larger 24-inches are more popular than 22-inches, but despite the trend for going larger, 20-inches remains the most popular size.

This is a significant change since 2007 when 19-inches was the key size. Prices of 24-inch models retail at over £1000, prices of 20-inches tended to fall between the £750-£800 price point.

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