It’s a trend that manufacturers hate but computers selling for less than $1,000 accounted for 39% of the US desktop in August, according to market research firm Computer Intelligence. This compares with just 23% of the market in may, an upsurge that is the result of the boom in first time computer buyers, a trend that is likely to lead to a big increase in e-commerce. Makers have been able to serve the low end of the market thanks to a fall in the price of components like memory chips and hard drives. The Wall Street Journal estimates that margins for cheaper models are 10% to 12% compared with a figure around the 20% market at the top end of the market, though the squeeze on margins is offset by high volumes.
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