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More than half of SMBs prefer to buy their PCs
from a VAR or systems integrator rather than direct from the
vendor, and SMBs plan to increase their PC spending this year by 7 percent.

That’s according to a new survey from Forrester Research of more than 1,000 small
businesses—700 in North America and another 400 from Europe—examining
their processes for buying PCs. 

Hardware accounted for 26 percent of SMB IT budgets in the past year, and the
Forrester survey found that PCs are poised for the biggest year-over-year
increase, 7 percent, when compared with other hardware categories, including
servers, networks, storage, systems management and mobility.

What are SMBs’ wants and needs? Find out here.

"Driving the next four years’ spending increases will be the much-delayed
rolling refresh cycles that are brought on by the upgrade to Windows
Vista," Benjamin Gray, an analyst at Forrester Research, wrote in his
report, "The PC Purchase Process for SMBs."

Another trend under way within SMBs is the shift from desktops to laptops. The
ratio at these companies today sits at about 70 percent desktops to 30 percent
laptops. But "employees are demanding more flexibility, prices have
dropped, and IT wants its users to have access to data and applications
regardless of their physical location," Gray wrote. "The higher
margins that laptops and newer mobile form factors provide should help sustain
revenues as more and more SMBs embrace the shift toward increased

The survey also found that these businesses value quality over price and rely
heavily on their IT peers when choosing a vendor.