Robyn Tovey, Account Executive ITR at GfK, looks the volume and value growth of hybrid tablets, slate tablets, ultrathins and other media tablet form factors as the mobile computing sector shrinks.
The IT retail market suffered year-on- year declines of 7.1 per cent and 6.6 per cent in volume and value respectively in July 2013. Despite this, there were areas that showed promise.
While some had doubts of the media tablet (those that run on a mobile operating system) form factor to sustain its growth throughout 2013, it seems we are on course for just that. Year-on-year growth rates hit 59.2 per cent in volume in July 2013. Value growth rates did not reach the heights of the volume growth at 17.1 per cent, as seven-inch devices have surpassed the larger, more expensive devices this July.
Despite an overall year-on-year decline of mobile computing by 9.7 per cent in volume and 8.5 per cent in value, some of the more exciting form factors in the group have undergone huge growth.
Ultrathins grew by 145.5 per cent in volume year-on-year in July as average selling prices of the form factor declined by 32.8 per cent from July 2012.
The hybrid tablet also grew by 471 per cent in volume as the average price dropped by 29.7 per cent (July 2013 versus July 2012).
Slate tablets experienced growth without the aid of price erosion, with year-on-year growth rates reaching 343.2 per cent and 366.5 per cent in volume and value respectively.
Considering the blistering growth rates of these innovative form factors, the overall decline of the mobile computing category highlights the gradual transition away from the traditional notebook that is occurring in the IT retail market.
Monitors experienced year-on-year growth of 5.2 per cent and 5.9 per cent in volume and value respectively in July 2013. One of the main reasons for the growth is the increased affordability of high resolution and high viewing angle models for consumers.
Given the continuing growth of the tablet category, we expect MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) to become a key feature in the monitors retail market. An MHL port allows consumers to broadcast the display of their tablet and smartphone devices; an innovation that could spell further danger for traditional computing form factors.
The other area of growth was in communication devices (a term which encompasses all networking devices), which grew 6.8 per cent in volume and 1.7 per cent in value when comparing July 2013 with the corresponding month of last year. Some of the key growth areas include docking stations, repeaters and switches. These growths are indicative of the increasing prominence of cloud computing.
As Q4 approaches, it will be interesting to see if media tablets will have as successful an end to the year as they did in 2012, or if the imminent games console and smartphone launches will have a cannibalising effect on these devices.