Nick Huber reports on the
demand for leasing tablet PCs and the future trends expected in
this fast-moving technological sector.


Photograph of iPad screenA plan by IBM to offer UK businesses the option of leasing
tablet PCs has highlighted a potentially lucrative market for asset
finance providers.

By offering low-interest financing
on tablet PCs, IBM said that it will enable clients to reduce
up-front cash outlays and better match payments to benefits.

In a statement, IBM said: “Instead
of buying a tablet at $599 [€416] and imaging it for another $200,
companies can lease it for about $20 a month.

Although the service has been
launched in the US, an IBM spokesman told Leasing Life that it
planned to let UK businesses lease tablet PCs. With the PC market
showing signs of having passed its peak, fast-growing consumer
demand for tablet devices such as Apple’s iPad and BlackBerry’s
PlayBook tablet, has opened up a new IT market for asset finance

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By GlobalData

Follow IBM’s announcement, other
providers in this sector are also arguably well equipped to offer
similar programmes.

Dell declined to provide sales
figures for its leased products, but said that it had seen growing
demand for tablet devices across all businesses.

Simon Hall, Dell head of marketing
for the UK, Ireland and for consumer, small and medium business,
said: “Dell has seen an increased interest in, and adoption of,
tablets by businesses of all different sizes and from a wide range
of industries from both the private and public sector.

“As such, Dell plans to leverage
and build on its leadership as a business client PC provider and
offer a ‘business ready’ tablet later this year.”

Tablets can bring new benefits to a
work environment, such as increased productivity, flexibility and
mobility, but they also bring with them security and management
challenges, added Hall.

In the UK, the market for leasing
table PCs is in its infancy – but has good potential, according to
Bluestone Leasing, which specialises in financing IT assets.

The company, which is based in
Yorkshire, northern England, leases iPads to organisations that
range from a hairdresser salon group, which provides iPads rather
than magazines for customers to browse through, to schools.

Currently, sales from leasing
tablet devices only account for about one to two per cent of
Bluestone’s sales.

However, Bluestone sales director
Steve Russell said this figure could jump to as high as 10% over
the next two years as tablets enter the mainstream.

“Tablet devices will become more
ubiquitous and help business users harness the power of social
media,” Russell said.

Customers find it easier to justify
investing in new technology, such as iPads if they lease rather
than buy the devices, Russell said. For iPads, typical lease
contracts are for three years.

Another IT leasing specialist,
Syscap, was more sceptical about the prospects for leasing tablet
PCs to business, but said that the market could expand.

“To date, tablet devices are not
being widely used in a business environment, save for say ‘a nice
to have’ for the business head,” said Syscap business services
manager Lisa Little.

This often means that if they want
one, they pay for it themselves.

So, as a business to business IT finance provider, Syscap has
only been asked to finance them on occasion and usually as part
of/included in a company wide IT business solution or in a teaching
environment in the education sector.”


See also:

Tablets take off