Despite declining sales, two-thirds of Brits are still clinging on to their desktop PCs

Desktop PC sales are on the decline but they are still used widely throughout the UK, proving popular with older generations. This is according to new research from online electrical retailer reichelt. Whilst almost everyone now owns some form of mobile device, desktop PCs are still prevalent, but is it time to upgrade? Not everyone is sold on 2 in 1 devices just yet.

 Desktop computers owned by millennials go unused

With shipments of desktops falling below 100 million last year for the first time – a 2.7 per cent year-over year decline (IDC). rits clearly aren‘t looking to buy new desktops in the next 12 months (only 7 per cent said they were) but they can still be found in homes and offices up and down the country and are particularly prevalent amongst older generations.

Just 37 per cent of 18-24 year olds own a desktop that is still used compared to 79 per cent of over 55s. As many as 45 per cent of 18-24 year olds are planning to dispose of the desktops they do own, showing the shift in the devices millennials choose to use to fit in with their lifestyles. Overall, 39 per cent of Brits own unused desktop PCs.

Frank Gerwarth, product manager at reichelt says, “Whilst many people may still own a desktop, they’re gathering dust in the corner of the room as more portable, easy to use devices fit in with modern lifestyles and the need to be able to be connected and access videos, emails and work on the move. Millennials are driving this shift in computing choices. The time has come to make the switch from traditional desktops to mobile devices that offer the best of both worlds.“

 Brits remain unconvinced by 2 in 1 convertibles

The growth of this form factor is predicted to increase, highlighting the scope and market potential for consumer brands.

 Despite this and the rise in popularity for tablets, convertible devices are yet to establish themselves as real contender to the desktop. 84 per cent never use 2 in 1 devices, despite the combined advantages that they offer. Only 5 per cent own a convertible device in the UK.

The tablet trend

The research highlights a clear trend towards use of tablets amongst Brits. 60 per cent use a tablet more than once a week, supporting the evidence that there has been strong market penetration for tablets in the UK. Since 2010, iPad owners have increased from 1 per cent to 29 per cent in 2017 (Statista).

But perhaps surprisingly, its 35-44 year olds who are most likely to own a tablet (52 per cent). Tablets are most commonly used for:

  • Surfing the internet – 67%
  • Shopping online – 58%
  • Communication (social media/emails) – 53%
  • Video/photos/listening to music – 48%
  • Admin e.g. banking – 38%

Whilst use of tablets is prevalent, sales of ‘traditional’ tablets are also predicted to decline due to the longevity and quality of tablets already owned, lessening the need to upgrade.


The shift from desktop to mobile devices will continue over the next 12 months as consumers will continue to seek out new hybrid products that can fit their on the go lifestyle. But, older generations should look to upgrade too before their desktops become completely obsolete.

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