Tech Market Snapshot: High-end graphics cards and interactive flat panels up; ereaders hold steady in UK tablet market

We roundup the latest news from IT analysts and firms to see which tech categories have been doing well, which haven’t, and what’s forecast to be big in the near future.

High-end graphics card shipments increased in 2015
A new report from Jon Peddie Research reveals that the total number of AIBs (add-in boards, also known as graphics cards) sold in 2015 was 50 million, compared to 44 million in 2014.

Of these, about 5.9 million were enthusiast-level AIBs, compared to 2.9 million in 2014. “That rise in enthusiast AIB shipments, while the PC and overall AIB market was declining, was due to the great new games that were brought out in 2015. And, even though neither AMD or Nvidia introduced any killer new AIBs in 2015, sales went up,” said the analyst.

“This is paramount proof that the enthusiasts and their followers want, and will pay for great games and hardware if it is compelling.”

Overall add-in board market decreased in Q4 2015, AMD gained market share, while Nvidia lost share. Quarter-to-quarter AIBs shipments decreased 4.9 per cent and 7.9 per cent year-to-year.

Interactive flat panel sales double with over 800,000 sold in 2015
Sales of interactive flat panels (IFPDs) were also up in 2015. New research from Futuresource detailed how IFPDs were a ‘major success story in 2015’, revealing that by Q4, 59 per cent of all interactive display sales were IFPDs. The growth has been explosive from 18 per cent in 2013, 33 per cent in 2014 to 57 per cent in 2015.

This growth is forecast to continue up to 82 per cent by 2020. The interactive whiteboard (IWB), the original technology, is in decline but combined, the two technologies contributed to 1.5 million displays in 2015.

Ereaders continuing to hold steady within UK tablet market
Ereaders continue to hold their own in the UK, with a quarter of the population expected to use one in 2016, according to eMarketer’s latest user forecast.

While many predicted tablets would quickly kill off the devices, the ereader market has held steady, and this year an estimated 16.5 million people in the UK will use one, up 5.1 per cent from 2015.

By 2020, eMarketer estimates 18.4 million individuals in the UK, or 27.1 per cent of the country’s population, will use ereaders at least once a month.

Those intending to by wearables are ‘tech savvy, social, and stylish’
In newly released research, IDC found that wearables intenders (consumers who plan on purchasing a wearable product in the next six months) are ‘tech savvy, highly social, and extremely style conscious’. These consumers will lead the next wave of wearables adoption in the United States, said the firm.

Wearable intenders are comfortable with technology (89 per cent) and over three-quarters (76 per cent) check their smartphone first thing in the morning. They are also extremely social, with 87 per cent using Facebook, including 29 per cent who check Facebook hourly. Over half (54 per cent) of intenders agree with the statement, "When I don’t check social media, I wonder what I am missing" – commonly known as FOMO or fear of missing out.

Moreover, wearables intenders are highly style conscious, as indicated by their agreement with the following statements:
• "I am conscious of how I present myself" – 81%
• "How I dress is important to me" – 77%
• "My clothing is an expression of who I am" – 66%
• "The accessories that I wear (eyeglasses, watch, jewellery) say something about me" – 63%

"Intenders are enthusiastic about wearables but have hesitated to actually purchase a device. This implies that companies have not yet cracked the code to deliver something that is both functional and fashionable. Given that intenders are highly style conscious, companies clearly need to focus on the aesthetics of their product – perhaps even more so than the features," said Allan Fromen, vice president and consulting partner for IDC’s Global Buyer Behavior Practice.

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