Tag: UK

Data reveals surprising UK salary trends

poundsThe tech sector has long been lauded as the place to go for highly motivated individuals who believe the sky is the limit. While there are numerous success stories in every industry, the tech sector isn’t what it used to be.

So what are the alternatives? Well, if you’re not willing to jump through all the hoops and do all the internships, and you happen to be good with a wrench, plumbers can make some decent cash. The average salary for British plumbers is £27,866, just a tad over the national average of £26,462. However, in some parts of the country they can make quite a bit more. Many plumbers in London charge £90 an hour and successful, self-employed city plumbers can easily earn more than £50,000, reports Careerbuilder.

Secretaries in medical and legal fields can also make some nice dosh, while personal assistants can earn up to £24,067. Personal assistants in big multinationals can also end up north of £50,000, not bad at all. If writing is what ticks all the right boxes and you hope to be the next J.K. Rowling, think again. The average published author in the UK earns just £5,000 a year from writing, which means most can only rely on writing as an extra source of income or a hobby that pays for itself.

Bus and coach drivers are paid £22,701, which doesn’t sound too great for people who are entrusted with the safety of hundreds of passengers each day. Tram and train drivers make an average of £44,617, which is pretty good.

TV stars can be quite famous, but only a handful make loads of money. For example, professional dancers on Strictly Come Dancing earn £30,500, despite the fact that they often spend up to 14 hours training real celebs.

The Prime Minister earns £142,500 a year, which does not sound like much – and it isn’t, especially given the fact that as many as 2,525 council staff across the country earn more than £100,000, while 42 local authority employees make more than £250,000.

August car sales up 10.9 percent on year

nissanleaf2gThe recovery may be slow and the situation on the job market is still pretty grim, but people and businesses are buying quite a few new cars. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, 65,937 new vehicles were registered last month in Britain.

This represents a 10.9 percent increase on August 2012 and total sales this year were 1,391,788, or 10.4 percent in the first eight months of 2012. Needless to say, this is very reassuring as it indicates people and businesses are growing more confident and they are willing to splash out plenty of cash on new vehicles.

Much of the growth appears to be coming from businesses, who didn’t invest much over the last few years. However, now that economic confidence is back, they are refreshing their fleets. The refresh is long overdue and SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes reckons fleet buyers are capitalising on attractive deals and new technologies.

The economic malaise started almost six years ago and many potential buyers were putting off their purchases for years. The auto industry also tried to adapt to the new climate, by offering better deals, extended warranties and even cheaper models designed specifically against a recession backdrop.

In terms of technology, EURO 5 engines with much lower CO2 emissions are standard now, which wasn’t the case in 2008. Many carmakers have extensively overhauled their powertrains for superior efficiency. Diesel engines are as efficient as ever, but downsized turbo-charged petrol engines were perhaps the biggest game changer, as they deliver much better efficiency and more torque than traditional, atmospheric petrol burners. Thanks to new alloys and a bigger emphasis on efficiency, new cars tend to be quite a bit lighter than their predecessors.

Superior efficiency, clever CO2 tax breaks and relatively long warranties can save quite a bit of money in the long run. Businesses and average people have come to appreciate this fact.

Toshiba gets slice of new NDNA pie

toshiba-logoToshiba has been approved as a vendor in the new National Desktop and Notebook Agreement (NDNA) to provide PCs to universities, colleges and affiliated research institutions.

Toshiba is not new to NDNA, it has been on board for twelve years, but now it’s expanding its reach in Lot 2 of NDNA.

Toshiba will work with resellers Viglen, European Electronique, Iansyst and Academia to deliver its range of B2B products to NDNA members and it will offer a few perks as well. All products sold under the programme will come with an three-year on-site warranty, as well as an extended three-year battery warranty for Portege and Tecra laptops. End-users will also be allowed to retain their hard drives, so they can dispose of sensitive data as they choose.

“We’ve been working hard with our partners on supporting the education sector for many years, and to be re-awarded a place on the NDNA framework enables us to continue this practice.” commented Mark Byrne, Head of Public Sector, Toshiba UK. “As technology’s influence within the education sector continues to grow, we are delighted Toshiba continues to play a central role in these advances.”

The new NDNA framework went live on the 1st of August. Toshiba also noted that it remains committed to other educations programmes in the UK and the continent, such as European Schoolnet’s iTec and the UK Education Ambassadors programme.

European PC market falls 20 percent in Q2

pc-sales-slumpThe European PC market may be about to bottom out, but before it does several vendors will take massive hits,  research from Gartner reveals. PC shipments in Western Europe totalled just 10.9 million units last quarter, down 19.8 percent year-on-year.

Gartner concluded that the death of netbook PCs, inventory woes caused by the transition to Haswell and Windows 8.1 all played a role in the decline. Acer and Asus were particularly hard hit. Acer’s sales were down 44.7 percent, while Asus took a 41.7 percent plunge. Acer sold just 1.3 million boxes in Q2, down from 2.36 million in the same quarter last year. It faired a bit better in Britain, with a 21.4 percent drop. Asus managed 850,000 units, down from 1.45 million last year.

HP still leads the way with 2.28 million units and a 20.8 percent market share. Unlike Acer and Asus, it managed to maintain its market share, but overall shipments were down 17.4 percent compared to a year ago. Lenovo was the only big vendor to end the quarter on a positive note. It shipped 1.26 million units, up from 1.185 million last year. That was enough to boost its market share from 7.8 to 11.5 percent.

Dell also did relatively well. Although its shipments were down 1.1 percent to 1.17 million units, Dell upped its market share from 8.7 percent to 10.7 percent.

gartner-UKPC-2Q13

Although all segments of the PC market declined, notebook sales saw a 23.9 percent drop, while desktop sales declined 12.2 percent. The consumer market saw a 25.8 percent dip, while sales of professional rigs were down 13.5 percent.

Gartner concluded that the UK mobile PC market lost 25 percent of its volume since 2010. PC shipments in Blighty totalled 2.2 percent units in Q1, down 13 percent from Q1 2012.

“The second quarter marked the 11th consecutive quarter of decline in the U.K.,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner. “During this time the notebook market has shrunk nearly 25 percent in unit volume. The U.K. notebook market totaled over 2 million units in the second quarter of 2010 and has now reached just under 1.5 million units.”

Atwal said PC vendors are now at a “make or break point” in the industry, as the product move to new hardware and Windows 8.1 could turn things around. He also pointed out that the professional market did a lot better than the consumer market.

However, it looks like things will get worse before they get better.

UK B2C e-commerce to hit £62.49 billion

visa-epayBritish people are falling in love with e-commerce and a new eMarketer report claims their enthusiasm for buying things they don’t need and can’t afford with money they don’t have will drive UK business-to-consumer e-commerce sales up to £62.49 billion this year.

It gets better – by 2017 the figure may hit £89.73 billion, or 16 percent of total UK retail sales. However, the figures include digital travel sales. The volume of retail e-commerce sales this year may be £44.06 billion and they will represent 70.5 percent of B2C e-commerce sales in 2013. The share is expected to rise to 72.5 percent by 2017.

Although the average UK buyer often ranks as the top spending e-commerce consumer worldwide, non-UK people are starting to play a notable role in B2C sales. IMRG speculates that online retail sales made by non-UK people will total £10 billion this year, up from £7.4 billion in 2012.

Mobile e-commerce is also showing signs of growth. Sales from mobile phones and tablets are expected to increase 71.8 percent year-on-year to £6.6 billion, that’s 15 percent of total UK e-commerce sales. In 2017 they will  hit £17.2 billion. Possibly.

Most online shoppers are after clothes, sports goods, household goods, travel arrangements, accommodation, tickets, music, films, newspapers and books. British fashion outlets are doing particularly well, unlike their counterparts in the rest of the world. Many people are still reluctant when it comes to buying clothes online, but fashion shops in the UK are offering free shipping and generous return policies.

Heatwave reheats British retail in July

highstreet South endJuly appears to have been a great month for British retailers and they have mother nature, a tennis player and a baby to thank for it.

According to the British Retail Consortium and KPMG, sales were up 3.9 percent, against a 2.0 percent increase in July 2012, the fastest July growth since 2006. In real terms, total growth was 4.4 percent, the fastest since April 2011.

Since much of the growth was fuelled by hot weather, fashion outlets and the food sector did particularly well. However, online sales grew by just 7.9 percent, much lower than the 15.6 percent in July 2012. Home accessories, furniture and home textiles were the worst performing sectors, as most people chose to buy flip-flops and barbecue sauce instead of new carpets and Allen key loving flat-pack furniture.

“Food has performed very strongly, with summer barbecue ingredients and feel-good foods doing well during a month where the Lions, Murray, Chris Froome in the Tour de France and the start of the Ashes series all contributed to the positive summer feeling;” said Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC. “Clothing has also had a very good month, which was down to good weather spurring summer fashion buys and some very good discounting.”

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said July was a “golden month” for retail sales and a return to form for British retailers.

“Hopefully this uptick in sales is another indication that the UK economy has turned the corner towards growth. Murray mania, summer sun and the arrival of the royal baby gave consumers that much needed feel good factor, encouraging them to leave caution behind and help retailers put in a champion performance,” he said. ‪”With autumn ranges now hitting the shelves, retailers need some cooler weather to encourage consumers to treat themselves to some new winter woollies. If they get these new ranges right and suitable weather, it could be game, set and match.”‬‬‬

Heatwave and summer sales push retail up

highstreet South endJuly retail sales in Britain rose at their fastest pace since January, thanks to summer shopping and the unseasonal heatwave.

According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), retail sales hit their six-month high in July. Retailers recorded strong demand for clothing, footwear and just anything related to tropical temperatures.

UK GDP grows 0.6 percent

ukflagThe latest data from the Office for National Statistics estimates the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 0.6 percent sequentially in the second quarter, and have predictably been jumped on by both the Conservatives and Labour.

The biggest contribution to GDP was the services industry, growing 0.6 percent or 0.48 percentage points to the 0.6 percent increase. Productive industries also grew with a contribution of 0.08 percentage points, as manufacturing increased 0.4 percent after negative growth in the first quarter. However, all of these industries are well below their pre-crash levels.

The GDP growth, the ONS says, now puts the UK at 3.3 percent below the peak in Q1 2008, before the worldwide economic crash.

The growth was expected by the market and did not affect the London Stock Exchange, the BBC reports.

GDP was growing steadily between 2000 and early 2008 before the financial market crashed. Services continued to grow but production was largely flat, although construction was experiencing a boom at the beginning of the decade. The 2008 crash had an effect on all industries, particularly construction and production.

Economic growth did pick up late 2009 but at a far slower rate than prior to the crash. The crisis in the Eurozone swelled in 2010 creating further economic uncertainties and slowed growth again. According to ONS data, because construction and production has only managed to approach 2009 levels, GDP growth since then is attributable to services instead.

Although GDP growth has been welcomed, it does not necessarily translate into standards of living in real terms, and has its own set of criticisms as a measure of economic wellness.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said “families on middle and low incomes are still not seeing any recovery in their living standards,” noting that wages have not risen with prices. Coalition chancellor George Osborne admitted “things are still tough for families”.

The creeping growth – nowhere near pre-2008 levels and after years of remaining flat – is terrifically vulnerable in a very uncertain global economy.

It’s not time to put the Tesco Value Cava on ice just yet: EU countries are increasingly volatile, austerity policies are being demanded all across the world, shocks to the markets could happen at any moment and in private industry, the prevailing attitude is one of caution.

UK will have £1.8bn internet trade surplus

DelThe United Kingdom is expected to end the year with a healthy £1.8 billion internet trade surplus, thanks to British internet retailers who adapted to online faster than their continental counterparts.

In a report called Modern Spice Routes, the Nielsen Company and PayPal worked out that the UK is going to spend £8.5 billion online internationally, but it will also sell £10.3 billion worth of goods and services. There’s more good news, as the figures are expected to reach £18 billion and £24 billion by 2018, generating an impressive surplus of £6.4 billion, reports The Wall Street Journal.

British internet retailers are obviously doing something right, but more importantly the Germans aren’t. Germany is expected to have a €4.7 billion trade deficit this year and the UK should have a positive internet trade balance with Deutschland. German shoppers are expected to buy €1.7 billion in UK goods, while Brits will spend just €619 million on German products.

PayPal Senior Vice President for EMEA & Asia Pacific, Rupert Keeley, said UK retailers have adapted more quickly to international buyers than their German counterparts. He also stressed that China represents a huge opportunity for global traders.

“Once China does crack its customs and import challenges, and they get through the logistical issues, it will become a huge market, particularly for British goods,” he said.

However, we have a Eurozone caveat of our own. There is a very good reason Germans are flocking to British shops and it’s not the nice lass behind the virtual counter – it’s the euro. The pound has lost quite a bit of ground over the past five years, making many products in Britain significantly cheaper than on the continent, even with VAT and shipping. This was not the case five years ago and for British retailers to do well across the Channel, the pound needs to stay weak.

Ctrack pushes European markets

Shane_TrackingOnline vehicle tracking outfit Ctrack is expanding its European operations and appointed a new manager to drive the push.

Richard Lane has been named as the company’s new European distribution & partnerships manager.

Ctrack currently has distribution operations in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Spain and Portugal to complement its owned operations in Germany, France and Benelux.

The new management role requires Lane to find suitable partners in countries where Ctrack currently does not have a presence.

In a statement, the company said it is is keen to take advantage of untapped vertical markets such as insurance telematics.

Lane was previously responsible for channel sales within the UK & Ireland. He joined Ctrack having spent four years at Cybit, and subsequently Masternaut, responsible for developing and managing its reseller programme.

John Wisdom, European managing director of Ctrack, commented said that Lane had been responsible for extending the reach of the business within the UK by establishing an effective partner and reseller network.

“We are looking to use his proven expertise to take advantage of opportunities that exist in new European markets to maximise the growth of the business across the region,” he said.

 

Ingram Content brings colour to UK

rainbowIngram Content has expanded its colour inkjet book manufacturing capabilities to the UK.

This means that publishers can print a range of colour books quickly and cost effectively worldwide.

David Taylor, Senior Vice President, Content Acquisition International, Ingram Content said that the marriage of colour inkjet book manufacturing with a  single copy print-on-demand (POD) selling model is going to be a first for the UK market.

So far inkjet colour options have almost exclusively been limited to short run printing.

But the new colour offer is poised to be a real game changer for publishers as the cost to print full-colour POD books is approaching the price of black and white manufacturing, he said.

The combination of an economical, single-copy solution with Lightning Source® quality broadens the scope of print-on-demand POD to more titles.

Taylor said that the new inkjet colour offer is competitively priced, half the cost to print colour books in most cases, and savings will be passed from Ingram to the publisher.

Hundreds of publishers that work with Lightning Source are already using the new colour printing option for both their short run needs and to fulfill orders via Ingram’s comprehensive reseller channels, which reach tens of thousands of online and traditional bookshops worldwide.

Lightning Source will begin manufacturing colour books using inkjet technology immediately for publishers worldwide from the UK.

UK retail flat as a pancake

highRetail sales volumes in recent weeks were practically unchanged from the same period last year, according to the latest figures from the British Consortium of Industry. Although the industry was hoping for a better start of the summer season, there was little change, although the start of June looks a bit more promising than May.

Orders were broadly flat on a year ago, although they surpassed expectations of a third consecutive fall. Sales volumes were below average for the time of year in June, despite more optimistic expectations and good weather. However, the outlook for July is a bit brighter, as retailers expect sales volumes to rise.

The survey, conducted between 29th May and 13th June, found that 25 percent of firms reported sales were up on a year earlier, while 24 percent said they were down. One in ten reported good sales volumes in line with seasonal trends, while 26 percent said their sales were poor.

Looking at July, 32 percent of firms expect an increase in volumes, while 19 percent are gearing up for another decrease. Interestingly, 63% of wholesalers reported sales volumes were up on a year earlier, and 18% said they were down. These numbers saw faster growth than expected, while most other indicators fell below expectations.

Sales in non-specialised stores, foot and leather store and non store sales all saw double-digit growth, but sales in durable household goods, cultural goods including papers and DVDs, were down.

High Streets do better than malls

highstreet South endAccording to figures released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard, footfall in UK shops fell by 0.7 percent in May, year on year. Shopping centres saw the biggest decline, with a 1.7 percent drop, but there is some good news to report as well.

Retailers in London and Scotland outperformed the rest of the country, with footfall going up by 2.6 percent and 3 percent respectively.

The BRC reckons the good showing in Scotland can be attributed to good weather last month and the fact that sales were down over the first four months of the year. However, some regions weren’t as lucky. Footfall in Wales was 1.1 percent lower than a year ago, Northern Ireland saw a 3.1 percent slump, while the West Midlands and East Midlands were down 2.9 and 2.6 percent respectively.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, pointed out that conversion rates were relatively good. Although people made fewer shopping trips, they were willing to pounce on good deals and seasonal promotions.

In addition, high streets outperformed shopping centres in the first five months of the year. Although the high street saw a one percent drop, shopping centres were down 1.7 percent.

“Footfall across all retail locations in the past few months has definitely been proving to be very volatile, particularly in high streets, which fell by seven percent in March, rising by 3.4 percent in April and declining by one percent in May,” said Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard.

Larger regional cities saw the biggest improvements in footfall, but small towns didn’t fare well. Shoppers are still willing to drive to bigger cities and out of town shopping centres, in spite of good weather. Footfall in out of town locations was up 1.2 percent compared to a year ago.