Is The Computer Repair Industry Growing or Declining?

The Computer Repair Industry

As a very busy and successful computer repair business in Brisbane this is a question that is obviously of great importance to us.  Will the computer repair industry decline and thus the market for our business fall?  Are we too going to go the way that many other businesses have such as book shops, DVD rental outlets and the sale of items like typewriters and fax machines or the declining need for secretaries and even office space and shopfronts….

Indications about the Computer Repair Industry are Mixed

Being at the forefront of this market we should be able to clearly state as to whether the market for computer repairs is declining or likely to decline.  However the market is giving us mixed signals.

Firstly the volume of business that we are obtaining is not declining, the phone is still ringing as frequently as it was two and even five years ago.  From these phone inquiries we are too receiving the same magnitude or more of computer repair jobs.  Thus from the level of customers we are obtaining we are not seeing a decline in the market for computer repairs.

However we have seen a computer repair shop of long standing close its doors which was located several suburbs to the south of us.  Yet in the opposite direction, to the north of us our competitors (friendly competitors) also assure us that their business is certainly not declining in revenue, possibly even increasing a little year on year.

Areas of Decline in the Computer Repair Industry

We are however seeing a chance in the manufacture of computers which suggests that a decline is on the way.  Like most electronics computers are now not being built for longevity.  Remember the days when a fridge lasted a lifetime?  Well the standard we are now seeing of computers and their components we do not believe that the manufacturers are building their computers to last for as long as they once did.  We are of the opinion that the life expectancy of a computer, laptop or Mac is now around four to five years before it becomes uneconomical to repair.

There are several valid reasons for computer manufacturers to build machines for this shorter life span.  One reason is that technology and software is developing at such a rapid rate that what is a great computer now, is not a great computer in four years time as new computers at this time will be capable of far more.  Furthermore increasingly complex and demanding software is being developed such that new computers are needed to keep up with the increasing demands that this software places on the hardware components of the computer.  So if you are going to need to replace your computer in four years time so that it can function optimally with new software, what is the point in building a computer that will last beyond the time frame in which it will be needed?  This too would make the cost of the computer higher as better durable hardware would be needed.  This therefore is one reason why computers now have a shorter life span.

So how does this impact on the computer repair industry?  Well if people are replacing their computers far earlier than before and the price of computers is declining, well the need for computer repairs will too decline.

There is another factor in relation to the manufacture of computers that we believe will lead to the slow (hopefully slow possibly quite fast) decline in the computer repair market.  This is that computers are now being built in such a way that they are firstly more difficult to repair and secondly more costly to repair.

How are Computers Built so that they are More Difficult to Repair?

Well firstly we are seeing glue used where in the past screws or magnets were used.  This means the likelihood of damaging a computer when repairing it is higher and also it is a much slower process to remove the glue than it was to unscrew the components.

Secondly we are seeing more components added to boards than there were previously.  Thus if one component fails the full board has to be replaced.  Thus the replacement of just one component ends up being the replacement of half a dozen or more and hence a much higher cost for the replacement.

Another reason why computers are becoming more difficult to repair is because manufacturers are stocking replacement parts for a shorter period.  Thus it is not unknown for a computer of only a few years old when requiring a new component, that there is no availability of new components and of course finding second hand components of such a new model is extremely difficult.

Thus the manner in which computers are now being built may have a very significant impact on the computer repair industry – and in its decline.

Potential Growth Sectors of the Computer Repair Industry

One avenue of potential growth in the computer repair business is malware removal.  Malware is becoming more commonplace with malware itself becoming more and more sophisticated.  Obviously malware protection programs too are getting better and better, but they are always one step behind.  Thus it may be that in the future we obtain a greater proportion of jobs in the malware removal area.

Data recovery is another area that is showing to be increasingly demanded.  This you would think defies logic, with the cloud now available for backups you would have thought that data recovery would be less required, not more.  Currently however this is not the case, at least as far as our business goes.  We are finding we are getting more and more enquiries for customers needing data recovery.  This is due to one of two factors.  Firstly people are just not backing up as much as was done in the past.  With computers becoming more reliable it appears that backing up is not given as great a level of importance than it used to.  We get many customers coming to us with computers that have failed to boot and with hard drives full of photos, data and emails that have not been backed up for a considerable length of time.

We are also experiencing a greater level of demand for retrieval of data from portable hard drives.  Contrary to what most people think, external hard drives are very delicate and a knock or a fall can mean that the drive fails and all the backed up data is in desperate need of recovery which can be a relatively easy job, or a very expensive and difficult exercise requiring the services of a specialised data recovery laboratory.  Suffice to say this is a growth area for our business and unless the current attitude to the importance of backing up changes we see this as an ongoing growth area for us.

Thus growth in malware removal and data recovery may have a positive impact upon the viability of the computer repair industry.

What does the Market in General Indicate regarding the Growth or Decline of the Computer Repair Industry?

One way to examine whether or not the computer repair industry is growing or declining is to look at Google Trends.  This we did for Brisbane and the graph below shows you the result.  We put into the Google Trends search bar the keywords Computer Repair Business because this is the most common search used by Brisbane residents and businesses when seeing computer repair help.

computer repairs industrySource: Google Trends September 2005 to April 2016

The graph above does not look good for us as a computer repair business.  It is noted that the graph shows the popularity of this search term compared to other search terms over time.  Thus it could be that the number of searches has remained constant or even grown, however it does illustrate that computer repairs is a less popular search term.

Even given the proviso above we would much rather see the graph line increasing rather than decreasing.  Personally I interpret the graph above that computer repairs do indeed seem to be of a declining industry…

And whilst laptops are becoming far more popular, the Google Trend information for the search term laptop repairs Brisbane is not very promising either…

computer repair industrySource: Google Trends September 2005 to April 2016

Nor does Mac repairs Brisbane look to healthy either…

mac repair industrySource: Google Trends September 2005 to April 2016

Conclusion

Whether the computer repair industry  is on the incline or decline is still not 100% clear.  Our experience in terms of the manufacturing changes in computers in particular highlights that the industry will decline, even though at the current time we are not experiencing this.

As far as you the reader are considered, we have the following advice:-

  • Probably not a good idea to start up a computer repair business if you are looking for long term revenue growth.
  • Expect that the new computer you purchase is not going to last as long as its predecessor did.
  • Please do back up your data regularly and in two separate places, not just on one external hard drive.
  • If you are in the computer repair business yourself, start thinking of ways in which you can diversify your business such as set up and integration of computers and entertainment systems.
  • If you are seeking the services of a reliable, affordable and honest computer repair business, please call us at Affordable Computer Repairs and Service in Brisbane on 3397 1215!

laptop repair industry

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Affordable Computer Repairs and Service Brisbane