Tech Market Snapshot: UK wearable sales to reach 5m, Global PC shipments totalled 101m in Q1

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


CCS Insight’s latest research estimates that by the end of 2016, UK wearable sales will reach five million units with about 10 million devices in use – this number will triple over the next four years to almost 33 million units.

Fitness trackers, which are counted as part of CCS Insight’s quantified-self category, are by far and away the biggest by sales volume, with 1.7 million expected to be sold this year.

However, in terms of value, smartphone companions will form the largest category. Sales of smartphone companions, including smartwatches such as the Apple Watch, will be worth almost £300 million in 2016. By 2020 this type of device will account for 34 percent of the value of the wearables market, with shipments growing from 1.5 million in 2016 to 3.6 million in 2020.

“Advances in design and affordability mean that this year wearables have become devices that ordinary people actually want to wear. Consumers in the UK have adopted wearable technology enthusiastically, particularly fitness trackers, which are becoming an increasingly commonplace accessory on people’s wrists,” said George Jijiashvili, analyst for wearables at CCS Insight.

“The real challenge now lies in making sure people who have a wearable device keep on using it rather than abandoning it after a few months.”


Worldwide PC shipments (desktops, notebooks, two-in-ones and tablets) totalled 101 million units in Q1 2016, as total volumes dipped by 13 per cent year-on-year to their lowest point since Q2 2011, according to Canalys.

Apple continued to lead the market into the first quarter of 2016 with shipments of just over 14 million units, despite falling 17 per cent. Lenovo shipped some 25,000 units less than Apple, as its decline moved into double digits on the back of weakening sales in Greater China.

Apart from two-in-ones, which grew just over 13 per cent, shipments were weak across all categories, as vendors struggle with declines in global PC demand.

Tablets continue to be the worst affected category, with shipments falling around 15 per cent to just under 39 million units.


ABI Research has forecasted global handset sales, including both smartphones and mobile phones, will increase by 4.9 per cent in 2016.

One key trend that looks set to create concern among smartphone vendors is the growing and ever more important refurbished market, which will push OEMs to reconsider their branding options and portfolio as a whole.

“We anticipate the refurbished market to grow significantly over the next five years, particularly as it starts to encompass devices with advanced feature sets and 4G connectivity,” says David McQueen, research director at ABI Research.

“The spike in the refurbished market will cause a ripple effect, enabling companies like Apple to drive down pricing in their product portfolios without resorting to pushing through the next new, lost-cost product launch. This will be particularly useful for companies targeting emerging markets in the years ahead to help both expand their brand reach and addressable market.”


Worldwide semiconductor capital spending is projected to decline 2 per cent in 2016, to $62.8 billion, according to Gartner. This is up from the estimated 4.7 per cent decline in Gartner’s previous quarterly forecast.

"While the first quarter 2016 forecast has improved from a projected decline of 4.7 per cent in the previous quarter’s forecast, the 2 per cent decline in the market for 2016 is still bleak," said David Christensen, senior research analyst at Gartner.

"Excess inventory and weak demand for PCs, tablets, and mobile products continue to plague the semiconductor industry, resulting in a slow growth rate that began in late 2015 and is continuing into 2016."?


BRC/KPMG’s online retail sales monitor has found that last month saw the slowest online growth since April 2013.

“As shopping online continues to become a staple of the retail experience, it’s little surprise that the growth in the value of digital sales continues to taper off year-on-year,” said Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of British Retail Consortium.

“April saw retailers growing their online non-food sales by 6.6 per cent which, despite being a healthy increase, is the slowest growth since April 2013. However, online remained a significant proportion of total non-food retail sales at 20.9 percent; only fractionally down on the highest on record.”

BRC/KPMG’s general retail sales monitor report found that April saw the second month of flat sales for UK retailers.

“Overall, retail sales slowed during April with temperatures well below the average for the time of year. Looking at the three months to April, non-food like-for-like growth was particularly weak, especially for fashion and footwear, as the cooler weather dampened the launch of spring/summer ranges,” said David McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG.

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