Tablet sales catch up with smartphones
By Nicole Kobie in Las Vegas
Posted on 7 Jan 2013 at 08:33
Tablet revenue is set to catch up with that of smartphones, according to CEA analysts speaking at CES in Las Vegas.
The analysts said smartphones and tablets would grab as much as 40% of total tech spending around the world this year, leading growth for the industry.
Calling smartphones and tablets the "dynamic duo", Consumer Electronics Association analyst Steve Koenig said the devices have continued to post a "monumental growth rate".
CES 2013 newsAll the latest news and reviews from CES 2013
In the US, household penetration for smartphones increased from 36% to 55% in the past 18 months, while tablets increased from 17% to 44%.
"None of the growth rates match the success that tablets have enjoyed in the market," he said, speaking ahead of CES 2013.
"In 2012, smartphones led tablets [in revenue]. In 2013, it’s a photo finish," Koenig said, saying tablets were "outflanking and out-maneuvering all other technologies". He predicted sales of $37bn at the wholesale level for both smartphones and tablets this year, posting growth despite prices falling.
The analyst noted only three categories would post growth this year, tablets (25%), smartphones (22%) and gaming consoles - and the latter is only expected to see growth because of new hardware launches.
"You can argue smartphones and tablets are cannibalising other tech devices, but if you think about it, what would happened if you hadn’t had smartphones and tablets as innovative products, would you have achieved that growth?" asked GfK analyst Steve Bambridge. "I think it’s unlikely," he said, suggesting tablets and smartphones expanded the tech market overall.
Data from GfK showed tablets dominated laptops in the key holiday shopping season, although both tablets and laptops did see an uplift in September ahead of students returning to school.
Tablet and smartphone sales are being driven by increasing product adoption, but also by replacement cycles - which are much shorter than for PCs. "You put those together, and you get these exponential growth rates for these products," said Koenig.
Tech sales will bounce back to growth globally in 2013, but that's only because emerging markets are balancing out troubles in mature markets, the analysts said. Koenig predicted there would be a "return to growth in 2013, but that’s really led by emerging markets... whereas mature markets are pretty much flat, at 1%."
"A lot of those key markets are expected to bounce back in a modest way in 2013... but we’re no longer talking about double-digit growth," added GfK analyst Steve Bambridge.
The situation isn't helped by economic woes in Western Europe, or by "weaker than expected" holiday tech sales in the US. "December sales did not ring true with expectations," Koenig said.
- How to get the Windows 10 Technical Preview, plus release date, features and latest news
- Why the Microsoft Band could be a game changer
- Five ways Amazon Fire TV Stick beats Google Chromecast
- Windows 10 trackpad shortcuts: Microsoft takes a leaf out of Apple's book
- HP's vision for the future of PCs: the 3D Sprout
- Google Glass: mugger bait, pub problem and other lessons learned from two dangerous weeks
- Twitter, please don't fiddle with my feed
- How Satya Nadella can get some pay-raise karma
- Windows 10: a step back to go forward
- Michael Dell: Cloud infrastructure is the roads, bridges and highways of the 21st century
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office