GfK's Robyn Tovey talks abbot the growth of the IT retail market

GfK: Media tablets continue blistering growth

Robyn Tovey, GfK account executive, IT, finds that media tablet sales show no sign of slowing down, while ultrathins are also doing well in the mobile computing sector…

The IT retail market, as tracked by GfK, is up 1.3 per cent in volume growth in October. Media tablets are currently the strongest growth area, with 134 per cent volume growth and 80 per cent value growth year on year.

Due to the ongoing success of media tablets, the opportunity for other brands to enter the market has arisen. In the month of October, we can now see 45 per cent more brands competing in the market from the corresponding month of last year. We also can see a 156 per cent growth on the number of different tablets available. Furthermore, the average selling price of media tablets has declined 23 per cent year on year, largely due to the availability of smaller devices.

The growing success of media tablets has had a knock-on effect on notebook sales, which displayed a year-on-year decline of 18 per cent. Consequentially, volume sales of media tablets are 28 per cent higher than notebooks. With no indication of imminent market saturation, coupled with the aforementioned price drop, it is expected that the media tablets domain will continue to grow.

There is hope for mobile computing in the form of the ultrathin computer. With a volume growth of 691 per cent this October compared to the corresponding month of 2011, ultrathin computers are adding buoyancy to mobile computing growth. Early trends show that average selling price reductions in 2012 have led to a spike in sales. Subsequently, ultrathins’ two per cent share of the Mobile Computing Retail panel volume in October 2011 has risen to ten per cent this October. Competitive pricing could be the catalyst to spur ultrathins into the mobile computing top spot. October 2012 saw an average selling price year on year decline of 48.9 per cent, bringing ultrathins to the lowest average price to date. Earlier this year, ultrathins were selling for twice the amount of their bulkier counterparts, but they now boast an average selling price of only £100 more.

On the other end of the spectrum, netbooks seem to be continuing their fall. We witnessed a 40.7 per cent volume decline in October, even though October saw the most monthly netbook sales in 2012. The contributing factors of this enduring decline are multifold. There are 28.6 per cent less brands and 54.6 per cent less models available this October when compared to last October. In addition, the install base for netbooks is significant, suggesting that most of those who want a netbook already have one. Media tablets are also catching up in ability and price, while surpassing in sleekness. Finally, the price range gap between netbooks and notebooks has been largely abridged, to the effect that consumer selection of the netbook for money saving reasons is becoming less and less likely.

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