GfK's Nigel Catlow provided those in attendance at this year's PCR Boot Camp with a closer look at the state of the connected devices market

PCR Boot Camp: Connect with growth in tech durables

GfK’s Nigel Catlow addressed this year’s PCR Boot Camp on the growing popularity of smart devices and the wider opportunties available to retailers as a result.

30 million smart devices were sold in the last year. 19 million of these were smartphones, whilst six million were tablets. In one year’s time that figure will be closer to eight million.

Catlow drew on the these figures to emphasise both the growing demand for these devices themselves, but also the accessories that are designed to accompany them.

Smartphone users want cases and a plethora of plug-in accessories. Tablet buyers often opt for a bag to carry their new device, or a sound bar to enhance its sound quality.

Either way, with 30 million connected devices expected to grow to 35 million, that’s a lot of accessories. An opportunity that retailers can capitalise on.

Catlow also addressed a somewhat worrying figure. There’s been a significant slump in the growth of smartphone sales in the West, which Catlow believes is down to the mass ownership of such devices.

52 per cent of consumers own a smartphone, whilst 27 per cent own a tablet. This mass ownership has limited the opportunity for new sales and instead, has led the market to rely on replacement sales.

Catlow focused on the Smart TV market as an example. In Western Europe, there’s been a similar lack of growth due to the mass ownership of TVs. Consumers are on average replacing their TV every ten years, which has severely reduced the size of the market.

This is only further worsened by the growth of what Catlow referred to as invisible features. Consumers want a reason to buy a new TV, one that convinces them that what they’re using currently is sub-standard or outdated.

Whilst consumers are opting for larger screens and new features like high-definition, the abundance of other features on these devices, which aren’t able to be fully demonstrated at retail, are failing to capture the interest of shoppers – and ultimately failing to generate sales.

In summary, Catlow emphasised that sales opportunities in the West are declining due to mass ownership. Manufacturers and retailers need to work closely in order to demonstrate the features of new devices and accurately demonstrate them.

Catlow reaffirmed the tablet as a device that is designed for shopping, and is leading the charge of online retail – something that Catlow joked could drastically change the High Street forever.

But linking back to John Straw’s earlier discussion on Google and local businesses, Catlow maintained that retailers can combat this trend by building a strong online presence and featuring local searches – which could see tablets work for them, rather than against them.

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