Recession extends hardware lifecycles

Change may be permanent for employees, users

The recession may have accelerated companies extending the lifecycles of PCs, laptops and servers, but that change may become permanent.

Two recent surveys point to changes in hardware buying . In one, IT decision makers at nearly 1,100 companies were asked what IT product they put off buying this year and 49% said PCs, the top item in the survey list. The survey, by hardware and systems vendor CDW, was conducted by an independent polling firm, Richard Day Research.

In this CDW survey, that data completely flips around for next year, with 55% ranking PCs as their top priority.

Although the CDW survey indicates that some of the hardware buying next year may be satisfying pent-up demand, it also shows flexibility in this buying. CDW didn't have data on the PC refresh cycle, but said from anecdotal feedback refresh cycle was extended although new PCs are high on the CIO wish list for next year.

"The recession is teaching a lot of CFOs that the lifecycle for this hardware can be longer than what the IT people have said in the past," Bob Houghton, president of Redemtech a company that resells, redeploys and recycles some several million PCs and servers annually.

Houghton said he's been seeing a trend of longer lifecycles for number of years, but says the recession has accelerated it. His firm conducted its own independent, general market survey of 179 companies, not necessarily customers of the firm.

The survey dismantles the notion that laptops, in particular, are more likely to be replaced every three years.

More than 40% of respondents said they were replacing their laptops in three years, more than 30% in four years, and about 20% are holding on to their laptops for five years or more.

Regarding desktop PCs, 39% said they are keeping these systems four years, and just over 30% for five or more years. With servers, 60.5% said they were using their machines for more than five years.

Redemtech works to extend the life of equipment with refurbishment, said Houghton, who attributed the four and five-plus years of useful life expectancies to better hardware.

Raphael Vasquez, an analyst at Gartner, believes the recession has been factor in extending PC lifetimes in the professional market, as well as home.

Vasquez said they are expecting PC spending to pick up in the next two years because of their increasing age, as well as expiring support for Microsoft Windows XP .

"I don't think there's a question about whether or not lifecycles are lengthening," Vasquez said by e-mail in response to questions. "I think there's a pretty strong case that they are. The question now is, are they lengthening because of the recession? Because people choose to buy media tablets? Or because existing mobile PCs are now simply being used less because of alternative platforms (like media tablets, smartphones )?"

John Spooner, of Technology Business Research, believes users are extending the lifecycle of their laptops from three years to four and even five years. The idea of a three-year lifecycle on laptops is ending, something the recession may have helped push away for good, he said. Many more firms are thinking about a four-year lifecycle. "The quality of the hardware is good enough," Spooner said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GartnerserversPCshardware systemslaptopsdesktop pcsCDW

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Patrick Thibodeau

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?