Performance and immersion are key factors in giving manufacturers a competitive edge

Gaming has been playing a crucial role in the revival of the consumer PC market, according to Pavlin Lazarov of GfK’s IT global strategic insights division New data from GfK shows that the value share of gaming PCs grew steadily in 2017 and reached 9% for notebooks and 17% for desktops, an increase of four and eight points respectively compared with 2016, according to GfK’s Pavlin Lazarov. “Average prices for mobile and desktop PCs stabilised between €1,000 and €1,100 with a slightly higher price tag for desktop computers,” he says. “Middle East and Western Europe held price points for mobile PCs above average, while the APAC region is still below €1.000 but growing in the recent years.”

In terms of geographic breakdown, Lazarov says China, France and Germany are the key markets for mobile gaming PCs. “China alone accounted for 15% of the global sales (excluding North America) and generated growth of 36% for the first six months of the year. Further markets with significant growth potential include Russia and Poland, as well as Taiwan and Thailand. Within desktop gaming PCs, Germany, Japan, France and China represented 42% of turnover (DIY desktops are not considered) with China recording one of the strongest growth rates.”

GfK’s analysis shows that PC con gurations with the best-selling feature sets included 1 TB HDD, 8 GB RAM and a high-performing graphics card (GPU) and processor. The price for both desktop and notebook was below €800 in the first half of the year 2018. PCs with high-end specs and prices above €1,500 found a place among the top-selling configurations. “When it comes to GPUs,” says Lazarov, “higher-end models are more often built into the desktop version of the best- selling PC configurations. Regarding RAM, six out of ten notebooks featured 8 GB (+49% in value). On the desktop side, 16 GB outperformed the 8 GB version and accounted for 46% of the value turnover in the first six months of 2018.”

The GfK analysis argues that “identifying the right feature mix for the gamers’ needs, can give the manufacturers a competitive edge. At the same time, design should appeal to core gamers as well as to the casual gaming audience, considering also their age and gaming preferences.”

Another key observation from GfK is that the gaming industry “is no longer is an isolated PC hardware business but a whole ecosystem. One rising star is gaming monitors, outperforming the rest of the market. Gaming monitors expanded by 48% in value in the first half of 2018.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, Lazarov observes that “performance is the driving force, with features pushing to the high-end specs range. PC monitors with vertical frequency of at least 100 Hz, more than doubled their value turnover. Curved monitors within this segment increased their sales value almost five-fold. The smooth and superior viewing quality and experience are reflected in the price tags, which can offer higher margins. Gaming monitors for €500 or more accounted for one-fifth of the total turnover from January to June 2018.”

Also important is the desire for even more real and immersive experiences within the PC games which has “found its next-level expansion through VR (virtual reality) technology,” GfK says. “The value turnover of fully capable VR glasses for PCs in Western Europe & Russia achieved double-digit growth and reached over €20m in the first half of 2018, with Germany, Great Britain and France being the main markets. The PC industry is further pushing the VR topic through its dedication to VR-ready components and computers. With the launch of wireless stand- alone VR glasses and the further development of Mixed Reality applications and products, which build on and interact with the real world, the reality, as we know it might change.”

All of the above insights and more can be found in: GfK Point-of-Sales Tracking, Retail Channels, International coverage (excl. North America), Sales Units, Sales Value & Price incl. VAT, January 2016 – June 2018.