Tech Market Snapshot: HDD sales decline, all-flash adoption soars, online retail spending to surpass £60bn in UK

The EMEA external storage market declined by 7.5 per cent in Q4 2015
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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.

This week, we also look at the increase in online retail spending in the UK.

EMEA external storage market continues to decline in Q4
The total EMEA external storage systems value fell 7.5 per cent year-over-year to $2.08 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to IDC. For the full year 2015, the external storage systems value in EMEA fell 8.5 per cent to just over $7 billion, from $7.66 billion in 2014.

The traditional hard disk array (HDD) segment in the region continued its double-digit decline in 4Q15, falling 26.2 per cent in user value to take the annual decline in the HDD segment in 2015 to 25.9 per cent to $3.4 billion, from $4.6 billion in 2014.

All-flash adoption soars in Q4
Despite the decline in HDDs, the flash market recorded huge growth, with the all-flash array (AFA) segment growing 151 per cent annually in Q4 2015, according to IDC. Hybrid flash arrays (HFAs) were almost flat in the quarter, with a 0.7 per cent drop YoY. For the full year, AFA systems recorded strong triple-digit growth of 158 per cent, while hybrid arrays grew by 5 per cent YoY.

Online retail spending set to surpass £60bn in UK
An international study from RetailMeNot has revealed online spending is predicted to reach highs of £182 billion in Europe this year, with UK sales set to surpass £60 billion alone. The past year has once again benefitted from a strong growth in e-commerce across Europe, with total retail spending online rising from £111 billion in 2013 to £156 billion in 2015, an increase of 40.9 per cent.

These figures are driven by the increased use of mobile, which RetailMeNot predicts will develop even further in 2016. In fact, this year British consumers are predicted to make 36 per cent of purchases online via a mobile device.

Smartphone component suppliers step up production
The global smartphone demand has been stagnant since the fourth quarter of 2015. All branded vendors therefore have lowered their shipment targets, and the entire market spent about three months on channel inventory digest.

Avril Wu, smartphone analyst for the global market research firm TrendForce, said the stock up of Chinese branded smartphones started to pick up in the middle of February, as the inventory adjustment period came to an end. At the same time, new devices unveiled at the Mobile World Congress generated additional demand. Moreover, mobile carriers in China have increased their subsidies for high-end 4G smartphones to boost both the market penetration of 4G technology and consumer purchases.

Based on TrendForce’s latest analysis, the global smartphone shipments will grow by just 5.7 per cent annually in 2016. However, the combined shipments of Chinese brands will register a much larger annual growth of 15.6 per cent. Chinese vendors will continue to be the main driver of smartphone shipment growth through this year as demand rises in the emerging markets such as India and the ASEAN countries.

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