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Laptop sales soar between A-levels and university

By Sean Coughlan
BBC News education correspondent

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image captionLaptop sales rise by over 50% in the weeks after A-level results

The surge in sales of laptops for students getting ready to start university has become like a "mini-Christmas", say technology retailers.

John Lewis says gadget sales soar A-level results and it has become the second biggest peak in annual demand.

Across the shop's branches, laptop sales have risen 33% compared with the same period last year.

The PC World and Currys group says laptop sales leap up by over 50% after A-level results have been published.

This has become a "massive fortnight in terms of computing sales", according to PC World and Currys.

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As soon as the A-level result envelopes are opened, sales of laptops and tablet computers begin to spike.

Laptop sales were 52% higher in the fortnight after A-level results than the previous fortnight - and tablets rose by 41%, said a spokesman for PC World and Currys.

An annual tracking survey of students' possessions has shown that almost all students arrive with their own laptop - and there has been a rapid rise in those also owning tablet computers.

In the summer the National Union of Students Services published research on technology ownership showing students are now more likely to own their own widescreen television than a bicycle.

image captionReading University library: Students revise using their laptops rather than text books

Retailers have realised that preparing for university is now associated with buying computer equipment.

Matt Leeser, head of communications technology buying at John Lewis, said the pre-university and back-to-school market has become a "huge part of our business".

The right laptop or tablet computer is seen as an essential tool for students.

The demand is so high in the weeks between A-level results and university that Mr Leeser said preparations for this key sales period now begin in February.

Laptop sales jump by 40%, said a John Lewis spokesman.

This year's big trend has been "convertible" laptops, in which laptop screens can be detached and used as a tablet. Sales are more than seven times higher than last year, said Mr Leeser.

Simon Exton, head of laptops, desktops and tablets at Currys and PC World, said: "Technology is at the very heart of preparing for university these days.

"And not just for study but also for entertainment and keeping in touch with family and friends whilst away from home."

"The 'back to study' period is always busy but even more so this year."

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