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Trends in IT buying: PC fleet

Sinead Conboy

Desktop computers still occupy large percentages of corporate inventories, despite surge in laptop sales in 2021 

BNZSA’s team of business development representatives (BDRs) are out in the market talking to IT buyers worldwide every single day. And with native speakers of 25 languages, we touch pretty much every geographical region in the world.  

Periodically, our BDRs conduct our own desk research that we feedback to clients and use for our demand generation campaigns and market intelligence gathering.  

In our latest study, we interviewed over 4,300 IT decision makers about their computing needs and how they’ve changed over the past couple of years. Unsurprisingly, we learned that the vast majority of companies are investing heavily in laptops and preparing for a future where hybrid working is the new normality.   

Inphography computers fleet bnzsa

However, we also found that although demand for laptops was strong in 2021, overall, it seems that many companies still retain a strong percentage of desktops within their fleet: our survey found an average split of 36% laptops to 64% desktops in their computer manifests.  

With such a high number of desktops still in circulation, we were interested to find out to what extent the laptop buying trend would continue in 2022, especially with other trends like the roll out of Windows 11 from Microsoft and new vPRO processors and platforms from Intel. 

2021: Despite pandemic businesses continued to invest in their PC inventory 

In the course of 2021, we saw a huge rise in large refreshes, in stark contrast to 2020 where many businesses froze or slowed their PC purchases.   

Inphography computers companies bnzsa

The bigger the company, the more machines were replaced in absolute terms. Our data also showed that larger companies with over 1000 devices had replaced up to 2% of their whole fleet in 2021.   

In contrast we found that proportional refreshes were far bigger at the other end of the spectrum. Our survey found that 22% of smaller companies (below 100 employees) were refreshing more than 50% of their machines.  

In terms of budgets, we found that spend increased across all sectors from 2020-21, especially at the top end. In 2020, projects with a value of over $100,000 made up just 3.68% of the total, whilst in 2021 they increased 185% to 10.48%.   

Not surprisingly, given the worldwide challenges in the sector, the biggest change in spend  was in Healthcare, where high value projects made up just 1.2% of the total in 2020, and rocketed almost 1500% to 18.58% in 2021.   

Inphography computers fleet healthcare bnzsa

Our predictions for 2022: major projects for desktop replacement will continue 

The PC inventory refresh will continue – swapping desktops for laptops  

Major refreshes will continue into 2022. Whilst SMBs clearly made large investments in 2021, the enterprise level companies clearly have a need to keep marching on with the desktop-to-laptop transition. It may also be interesting to see if other devices, especially lightweight tablets, become more common in business settings.   

More focus on accessories to support home working  

Many of us will recognise the toll that long-term home working is taking on our posture, eyesight and more. Monitors, keyboards and other accessories could become an important part of PC refresh agreements.  

“Green Tech” Recycling and donation schemes for desktops  

With so many surplus desktops being retired before reaching the end of their lifecycle, it seems imperative that the market finds innovative solutions to ensure that they can be recycled or donated. Whilst some OEMs and resellers do already include this as part of their agreements, we predict this becoming more mainstream in the year ahead, especially as there is a growing shortage of rare earth elements that are vital for electronics. 

BNZSA Research regularly conducts unique qualitative and quantitate research on behalf of our customers in order for them to learn and respond to market tends and user feedback. This piece is the first in a regular series of research pieces we will be sharing to our community on our website. If you have any topic areas you would like us to research then please do get in touch!

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