Desktops suffer while laptops get work-from-home boost in South Africa

Tech distributors in South Africa have noticed an increase in laptop sales and “work-from-home products” since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Alviva Holdings.

It said it does not measure actual unit sales but had noticed substantial growth in laptop and work-from-home (WFH) accessory revenue.

Alviva Holdings is the parent company of Axiz, Pinnacle, and Tarsus.

MyBroadband reached out to the three distributors directly, but they did not respond to our requests for comment. Mustek also did not respond to requests for comment.

“We have had meaningful notebook revenue growth along with other ‘work from home products’ like networking, accessories and monitors,” Alviva Holdings CEO Pierre Spies said.

The increased sales coincided with a decline in desktop revenues.

The JD Group noticed a similar trend. Its tech marketing executive Stef Michael told MyBroadband that the company had seen more people investing in hardware to work from home more efficiently and comfortably.

JD Group owns Incredible Connection, HiFiCorp, and the online store Everyshop.

“We have seen the laptop/PC re-emerge as the centre of our digital lives as the need for remote work has increased, and it has become clear that the mobile phone is not adequate for video conferencing and productivity,” Michael said.

“Simply put, we need larger screens and comfortable keyboards and form factors to work effectively from home.”

Employees are unlikely to have the IT support their employer could provide at home, making after-sales support an essential factor for purchasing decisions.

Michael said Incredible Connection had maintained strong sales through unique value propositions, including a free three-year warranty and its in-store support and advice.

Load-shedding — the work-from-home enemy

In July 2020, MyBroadband reported the impact load-shedding could have on hybrid working and WFH arrangements.

Having a stable electricity supply is critical to support remote working, and load-shedding can make remote working difficult for employees without some form of backup power at home.

It can also increase the cost of remote working if employees decide to invest in backup power.

Costs to consider include the installation of an inverter or generator, the cost of the equipment itself, and fuel for those who decide on going the generator route.

Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka said load-shedding directly impacts people’s ability to work remotely.

South Africa’s power situation has worsened since the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, making work-from-home and hybrid arrangements impractical except for more affluent workers.

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Desktops suffer while laptops get work-from-home boost in South Africa