Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tablets still in the fast lane

GfK findings for the first half of 2012 at the IFA trade fair

Nuremberg, 29 August 2012 – According to GfK, sales of IT products in Europe’s biggest countries, Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, dropped back 7.3 percent in the first six months of the year. In particular, private consumers are now well equipped with computers and associated products, added to which, IT equipment is generally only replaced in 3-year or more cycles. Most affected are sales of desk computers and mobile PCs, the two major product groups, while niche products and innovative devices – especially media tablets – are still in the fast lane overtaking all the rest. These are findings from GfK on the IT market compiled for the IFA 2012 in Berlin, Germany.

Consumers generally tend to buy new products if they believe they will deliver what they promise. In the first half of 2012, the main focus has been on mobile devices and unrestricted internet access from wherever users happen to find themselves. Consequently, sales of products such as Ultra Mobile / Ultra Thin Notebooks (+36.7 percent) and e-readers (+93.3 percent) have soared.
In western Europe, sales of media tablets have recorded the most dynamic growth to rocket by 142 percent. Although it is mostly private customers who are buying these devices, they are also being increasingly bought by the corporates. In fact, in the first half of the year, businesses accounted for more than 13 percent of total sales of media tablets.
The boom in the demand for iPads and similar appliances is also stimulating sales in other segments, which had been previously stagnating. For example, manufacturers are offering special keyboards which make it quicker and easier for consumers to surf the web. At present, in the six biggest countries of Western Europe, products with these special keyboards now account for around nine percent of all sales. And presumably, if prices keep falling, the demand and consequently, market share will also grow.
In the light of the euro crisis and the uncertainty affecting many west European consumers, GfK is anticipating a single-digit loss in IT-market sales for the second half of the year. However, the launch of Windows 8 in the fourth quarter of the year will deliver opportunities for growth, especially for Christmas and New Year business.

The trend is for a second and even a third device

Overall, increasing numbers of IT products are popping up in west European households. The digital way of life is expanding in all directions.  For instance, the current trend in computers now seems to be to own a second and even a third device. Many consumers are not only using a stationary desktop PC or all-in-one computer at home, but also have a notebook, or netbook as a full-service mobile device, not to mention a media tablet for digital entertainment.
The growing variety of digital consumer products is echoed by the increasing degree of networking. For example, consumers can now download music from their computers or smartphones via an internet stream, play it back on their stereo systems, or they might equally download photos from their media tablets to look at on their TV screens. Users can just as easily connect their WLAN router with a network-attached storage device, or NAS, to give them additional memory for all the computers on their home network, or they might also configure a memory for shared use. Consequently, in future, the demand will be for products which can fulfil consumer needs for more mobility and increased networking, as well as for giving quick and easy access to the internet. And here, the security of digital content will become a major issue.

The method

Through its retail panel, GfK regularly gathers data on hardware and software, IT accessories, office equipment and consumables in more than 90 countries around the world. This analysis is based on information on current developments in the IT market from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK for the first half of 2012.

About GfK

GfK is one of the world’s largest research companies, with more than 11,500 experts working to discover new insights into the way people live, think and shop, in over 100 markets, every day. GfK is constantly innovating and using the latest technologies and the smartest methodologies to give its clients the clearest understanding of the most important people in the world: their customers. In 2011, GfK’s sales amounted to €1.37 billion.

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