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GfK: How tablets are keeping the IT market afloat

Dominic Sacco

Mehryar Hamid, IT account manager at GfK, looks at the key contributors to the retail market in April...

In comparison to March, April 2013 was a slightly less positive month for the IT industry in the United Kingdom. However, that said, the retail markets still grew year-on-year with both sales volume and value up 0.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively. As expected, media tablets and tablet peripherals have been a key contributor in keeping the market afloat and will continue to play a crucial role in driving the industry’s growth throughout 2013.

Despite a slowdown in sales, as the gifting activity subsided post-Christmas, media tablets have continued to display double-digit growth in both volume and value terms. In April 2013, the product category grew 76 per cent in sales volume and 24 per cent in sales value in comparison to the same time last year.

The strong growth of the seven-inch segment has had a significant impact on the market, especially in terms of value growth. The introduction and strong uptake of this form-factor has resulted in the average selling prices of media tablets to drop by slightly over £100 in comparison to April last year. However, despite the declining prices, the category still accounted for 35 per cent of the entire consumer spending on IT products in the month of April 2013, which would make media tablets the single largest category in the UK IT market.

The continued growth of these portable devices is also having a major impact on more traditional computing form-factors such as notebooks and netbooks. As the processing capability and operating system compatibility of these devices improves, there will be even further cannibalisation into the sales of these more mature product categories.

In comparison to April 2012, notebooks were down 0.5 per cent in volume and two per cent in value; while over the same time period netbooks experienced volume and value declines of seven per cent and 14 per cent respectively. The highly publicised ultrathin segment within notebooks on the other hand, has continued to display strong growth with sales for April 2013 up in excess of 250 per cent in both volume and value terms.

On the ‘stationary devices’ side of the market, desktops (excluding all-in-ones) experienced year-on-year volume and value declines of 17 per cent and 26 per cent respectively. All-in-one desktops fared even worse with both sales volume and value down 40 per cent in comparison to April last year.

Even though the traditional desktops market was in decline for the month of April 2013, the monitors market actually grew five per cent in sales volume and seven per cent in sales value over the same time period. This trend has most likely been driven by consumers replacing their existing devices with larger screen formats and the increasing uptake of dual-screens amongst the gaming community.


Tags: Retail, tablets, sales, market, it, gfk, strong, april, 2013, Mehryar Hamid

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