Feeds

Tablets keep UK IT's head above water

Floating on a fondleslab (or two)

Remote control for virtualized desktops

UK IT is currently stumbling along a rather rocky road. But for the tablet, times would be rather tougher, market watcher GfK reckons.

Looking back over the six months from January to July, and to the equivalent six-month periods in the previous five years, the contraction in sales of desktop tower PCs is very evident.

So is a 2007-2008 leap in notebook sales - and the market's very minor growth since then. The rise and fall of the netbook - peaking in 2010 - is equally clear cut, but nothing stands out like the rise of the tablet: from next to nothing in 2010 to a little over a third of the overall UK IT market in 2012.

The only other growth market in recent years has been the all-in-one desktops, but that growth has clearly run out of steam, the category's share of the market stuck at just under three per cent during 2011 and 2012.

Claiming that the tablet has "kept IT afloat" in the UK is a hard call to make, even though GfK says just that. Had the iPad never been launched, would others have still appeared? If not, as seems likely - Apple's rivals took longer to follow it that they would have had they equivalent kit in the pipeline already - would notebooks and netbooks have fared better during the past few years?

It's clearly the case that some cannibalisation - tablets bought in place of older form-factors - has gone on, but it's also true, as GfK analyst Mehryar Hamid notes that "saturation in the market and the lack of innovation have all had a significant impact on this market".

UK IT sales volumes were up half a percentage point for the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2011, but sales value was down 3.8 per cent, Hamid notes. With so much growth seen in high-margin items like tablets, this figure highlights how far the prices of other computer technology have plunged.

The outlook isn't good. "The figures for July 2012 ave been even less encouraging," said Hamid. "Both sales volume and value were down 6.6 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively."

Retail sales were up 2.8 per cent in volume and 11 per cent in value in comparison to July 2011, pointing to a big fall in sales through other channels, which benefit less than shops do from shiny new items like tablets and e-book readers. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD TO DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Microsoft fitness bands slapped on wrists: All YOUR HEALTH DATA are BELONG TO US
Wearable will deliver 'actionable insights for healthier living'
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?