Let’s look at the popular items across categories for business customers. Sales numbers tell a story about where custom PC building is headed; we’ll ferret out the narratives below.
Popular Next Unit of Computing (NUC) confirms small is beautiful
Purchasing trends in motherboards and PC cases tell us that small profiles are the hot trend in custom PC builds in offices and school computer labs. Topping the motherboard category, an Intel NUC barebones system—this one in particular ships with a big-time CPU: Intel Core i7-6770HQ. There are three Intel NUC kits in the top five. This confirms Ars Technica analyst Andrew Cunningham’s hunch from last January: “Mini PCs represent one of the few segments of the desktop computing business that actually has growth left in it, and every year the NUC has added new features that make it work for a wider audience.” Spot on.
Virtual Reality is for real
VR certainly had some skeptics at the beginning of 2017 when it garnered buzz at CES and Microsoft events. Time for them to eat crow because revenues don’t lie. At the end of the year there are three VR headsets in the top ten for the input/output category. How are people using VR? Telecommuting is a top use case; controlled testing and training is another; others use VR as a next-level second or third monitor. Which headsets? Leading the NeweggBusiness I/O category is the HTC Vive the de factor darling of tech writers for the first round of VR headset hardware. Granted, VR headsets compete against lower-revenue hardware like keyboards, but nonetheless, we are pleasantly surprised with their performance this year.
Acer makes a fine little 2-in-1
The 10-inch Acer One ran away with the notebook category this year. The super-lightweight detachable is likely the least expensive way to procure a Windows 10 device. The minimalist specifications (Intel Atom x5 CPU, 2 GB of memory) are balanced out by a snappy widescreen display (1280 x 800 px). The super inexpensive price point (now under $170) resonated with business customers looking for a portable web productivity vehicle.
HP laser printers dominate
HP M-series monochrome laser printers swept the top 5 in the printer category. If you’re printing for business, the pinnacle for speed and efficiency is a black and white laser printer. Our customers found tremendous value with the HP LaserJet Pro M402DN which ran away with the top spot.
Cryptocurrency shows us hashing isn’t just for Twitter
Let’s not beat around the bush. PC hardware retailers and manufacturers love cryptocurrency right now. Except when manufacturer supply runs out, which happened for a few lean weeks this summer when video cards were super hard to come by. The effects of miners furiously building out GPU rigs this year leaves its mark all over our revenue sheets. For example: The leading PSU is a monster 1300-watt EVGA SuperNOVA. We have four specialty mining motherboards in the top 10 for the category. Here’s the top selling mining board: ASRock H81 PRO BTC.