April 4, 2017

Don’t write off the computer and tablet market just yet

By Billy

The computer and tablet market – including fitness bands and smartwatches — is about to make a come back.

After years of stagnant growth, the value of the total UK market will nudge £6bn ($7.4bn) by 2022, according to a report from GlobalData.

Despite the tablet and e-reader market set to slump by 7.7 percent by 2022, overall computers and tablets sales will increase by 10.3 percent over the next five years.

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This growth is largely going to be due to fitness bands and smartwatches. Although it only makes up 7.7 percent of the overall computer and tablet market in 2017, it’s forecast to grow by a whopping 64.4 percent by 2022.

Despite subdued growth in 2017 due to manufactures hiking prices on the back of the fall in the value of the pound since the UK’s vote to quit the European Union, the overall computing market is expected to rebound quickly.

However, GlobalData analysts expect repercussions of the pound’s depreciation will continue throughout the UK’s negotiations to exit the EU as this knocks consumer confidence when purchasing big-ticket items.

Earlier this year Deloitte forecast that sales of tablet computers will drop to under 165m this year, down 10 percent on last year and almost a third below 2014, it was reported by the Telegraph.

Meanwhile, researchers at IDC believe the PC market will stabilise this year at 251.4m, a drop of just 1.7 percent.

Smart watches are the driving force

GlobalData’s report suggests lower price points and improvements in wearable devices mean these will be more attractive to consumers than the big ticket items like laptops and desktops.

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Zoe Mills, GlobalData retail analyst said:

Growth in [the computing] segment will be driven by the continuing fitness trend that will see fitness bands exceed growth in the smartwatches markets, which is dominated by the Apple Watch.


Lower price points and continuing innovation in the space ensure that the purchase of these products is more impulse-driven than the likes of laptops and desktops, whose high price points need more consideration before purchase.”

Tablets need a reinvention to kick start growth

The problem for tablets and e-readers is that, as mobile phones grow in size and 2-in-1 hybrids combining computers and tablets come onto the market, these will cannibalise trade from both markets.

Despite improving screens and lighter devices with better batteries consumers will continue to lengthen replacement cycles. There just isn’t a big enough bump in performance to get people to upgrade.

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Zoe Mills, GlobalData retail analyst said:

Despite innovation from the likes of Samsung that has seen OLED screens implemented on tablets, this will not halt the decline of the market. Consumers will continue to lengthen replacement cycles as innovation fails to encourage shoppers to upgrade devices ahead of current devices breaking.


“E-reader sales will decline at a greater extent than those of tablets, as the popularity of physical books continues to witness resurgence. Innovation in the market has all but stopped as e-reader capabilities have reached full potential.

Verdict deals analysis methodology

This analysis considers only announced and completed cross border deals from the GlobalData financial deals database and excludes all terminated and rumoured deals. Country and industry are defined according to the headquarters and dominant industry of the target firm. The term ‘acquisition’ refers to both completed deals and those in the bidding stage.

GlobalData tracks real-time data concerning all merger and acquisition, private equity/venture capital and asset transaction activity around the world from thousands of company websites and other reliable sources.

More in-depth reports and analysis on all reported deals are available for subscribers to GlobalData’s deals database.

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