Plunging rand to push up PC prices
RETAILERS say the effects of the rand's slump will be felt in the next few weeks, with consumers having to pay up to 20 percent more for new computer hardware and software.
Paul Moses, managing director of the Connection Group, says that, as most software prices are dollar-based, shoppers should expect to pay more.
"Hardware has not escaped price hikes either," he says.
"Compaq, for example, has increased its prices three times since the rand crisis started.
"As a large chain we are able to hold off price cuts, but this will last only until we have to buy in new stock, when prices could increase by as much as 20 percent."
Most computers sold in this country come either from the US or the Far East, and South Africa can expect equipment from the latter also to go up in price.
"People will buy less," says Moses. "They will concentrate on the necessities and halt all luxury purchases - typically entertainment software and hardware."
Karen Steinberg, the managing director of Businessland, says that computer prices are going up for the first time she's aware of.
"Typically, the price of PCs remains static - users get more performance for the same price."
"The rand's fall means that, for the first time, South African consumers are having to pay more for PCs and software. We expect to see increases of between five and 20 percent," she says.
"How soon these price increases come into effect depends on what forward cover suppliers are taking."
Many hardware and software distributors buy technology way ahead of when it actually appears on shop shelves. This gives hardware and software buyers a level of immediate price protection. But those stocks are unlikely to last much more than a week or two.
"The message is not a happy one," says Steinberg. "Consumers will have to pay more for their computer hardware and software."