Smart Device Market Strong in UK

The smart connected device (SCD) market continued to post strong growth in 2013, with combined shipments of PCs, tablets, and smartphones reaching over 16 million units in the U.K. in 4Q13 and totaling to over 56 million units for 2013 and 11.1% growth compared with 2012, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). While growth is slowing as the U.K. market reached significant volumes, and the largest in Europe, SCDs will continue to be one of the fastest-growing markets in the IT industry in 2014 according to latest forecasts released by IDC, with tablets expected to continue driving overall consumer electronics spending.

•Tablets, including 2-in-1, continued to drive the SCD market from a growth perspective, with shipments growing by 50% in 2013. Demand for tablets continued unabated during the holiday season with over 5 million units sold in 4Q13, leading to a volume of 12.6 million units for the year. Growth will naturally slow down as volumes reach high levels, but the market will continue to grow in 2014, supported by continued product expansion while accelerated adoption in the business space will give the market a further uplift from 2H14 onward.

•Directly affected by the form factor transition and budget shift in the consumer space, the PC market contracted 5.5% in 4Q13, while the commercial segment grew 3.4%, fueled by renewals in the enterprise space. 2014 will benefit from a softer contraction in the consumer space and sustained business shipments, driven by ongoing refreshes and overall client infrastructure investment.

•Smartphones continue to be the largest segment from a volume perspective, representing 60% of the total smart connected device space and a volume of 9 million units in 4Q13, but growing more modestly at 8.5% for the year. Volumes are expected to be sustained in 2014, supported by product innovation, competition, and fast replacement cycles.

“The accelerated adoption of tablets is having a significant impact on the way consumers and businesses use and consider their computing devices. The frontiers between private and professional are blurring and new form factors are supporting increasing versatility, opening new usage scenarios and new growth opportunities for the industry,” said Chrystelle Labesque, research manager, IDC EMEA Personal Computing.

While Apple and Samsung continue to lead the overall device market due to the volume of smartphones, the competitive environment in the three product categories continues to be fragmented:

•Apple continued to dominate the U.K. tablet market with 4.7 million units shipped in 2013, and maintains the gap with challengers Samsung and Amazon with 2 million and 1.6 million units, respectively. Asus maintained 4th position with its own product line and the Nexus, while the market saw fast growth from several players such as Archos, with the success of the Hudl produced for Tesco in 4Q13, as well as Acer, Lenovo, and HP.

•On the PC side, HP maintained solid leadership in the U.K. PC market, followed by Dell, Lenovo, Apple, and Acer in the top 5 ranking on an annual basis.

•Samsung continued to lead the smartphone market, followed by Apple and Sony, with the top 3 covering nearly 75% of the market in 2013.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine