Notebook sales through the channel have proven the saviour of the PC market, according to latest figures from market analyst Inform.
"If it was not for a significant increase in indirect notebook sales in January, the PC market would be in negative growth," Inform reports in its weekly market report, Infocus.
January sales for notebooks sold through resellers were up 20 per cent on December figures. In contrast, desktop sales dipped 4 per cent. The total market grew just 0.3 per cent in terms of unit sales compared to December.
Notebooks sales also provided better value figures for resellers -- the average sell price is up 9 per cent to $3775. In contrast, desktops were up just 4 per cent to $1762 and Inform predicts prices are set to drop as vendors try desperately to clear inventory.
According to Inform analyst Chris Herbert, a flooded market obviously makes it difficult for resellers to increase sales and creates a "lag" which will continue for the next few months. A lack of new software platforms to drive PC upgrades and the general slowdown in the industry won't help matters.
"Businesses will either delay hardware investments until they achieve 100 per cent utilisation or send them back to resellers," Inform said.
The danger of this is the potential of black markets, where businesses begin acting as their own resellers, auctioning or selling their own equipment privately and competing with the channel.
"Inform understands that some major vendors have strategies in place to deal with this issue," the Infocus report states.