The smartphone with a super-computer like functionality is the way it is described by technology research firm Telsyte which says that Australia’s appetite for gadgets has only been held back by the growing functionality of what is now their main device - the smart phone. Some of the consumer electronic categories also sharply affected by smart phones include MP3 players, compact cameras and portable handheld game consoles.
Telsyte predicts that by 2019, fewer than one in 10 Australian smartphone users will also own an MP3 player, and by then, it could well be that MP3s will only still be loved by fitness junkies who don’t want to take their phone into the gym.
According to Telsyte, the modern smartphone does everything a desktop PC from a few years ago could do, and in many cases so much more — such as mapping with GPS and sensing movement with accelerometers.
It seems, too, that we Aussies love our smartphones, with market penetration now at 74%, second only to Singaporem and even higher than the UK and the US.
And, according to Telsyte, the more recent category of tablets has been under some stress in the last year following the release of larger-screen smartphones (also known as phablets), with both eBay and Telsyte data showing a fall-off in tablet sales in 2014 compared to 2013.
In economics, this process of innovation causing change is sometimes referred to as “creative destruction” — where disruptive technologies bring about a new way of doing things.
“Smartphones are certainly causing disruption, by removing the need for other, standalone devices. Australian consumers’ desire for an all-in-one device has also increased, especially as screen sizes on smartphones have grown Telsyte says.
“In Telsyte’s recent research, nearly half of all tablet users — and two thirds of all Windows tablet users — said they are interested in buying a combined device that had all the features of a smartphone, a tablet and a computer.”
The research carried out by Telsyte and eBay found that the trend away from Mp3 players, as smarthphones take over the market, showed that on eBay, this trend is stark — MP3 player sales fell by 13,800 in 2014, but in reality the product category had already been killed off by 2012, as the early signs showed.
Similarly, digital camera sales fell 8,300 year-on-year in 2014, even while overall consumer electronics sales were growing strongly, and DVD and Blu-ray players grew by just 1% in 2014 — which Teksyte says is actually a relative decline in comparison to booming growth in the flat screen TV market on eBay.
Meanwhile, the research reveals that the ratio of desktop computers to mobile computers in the shape of laptops and notebooks continues to decline. According to Telsyte, this trend is clearly evident on eBay where unit sales of both desktop PCs and Apple desktop systems retreated last year - by 1.9% and 6.9% - respectively, and laptop/notebook sales grew 7%.
Overall, researchers say the lure of the new continues to outshine the decline of older technologies and sales across all consumer electronics categories grew strongly on eBay with smartphones and convertible PCs the standout performers.
Today, eBay is one of the main destinations for Australians seeking smartphones, both old and new, and it also provides a smart upgrade path - some savvy buyers can always have the latest model by simply buying a brand new edition and selling their near-new handset — repeating this a few times a year — and only ever paying a small amount in difference each time!
And, the final word from Telsyte on the Australian market: “Despite our desire for one device to rule them all, an increasing number of gadgets will in fact continue to work together, giving us a seamless experience as we move from one device to another”.
Here are the key highlights of the Telsyte research:
• Australian consumers’ desire for an all-in-one device has also increased, especially as screen sizes on smartphones have grown. In Telsyte’s recent research, nearly half of all tablet users — and two thirds of all Windows tablet users — said they are interested in buying a combined device that had all the features of a smartphone, a tablet and a computer
• By 2019, Telsyte predicts fewer than one in ten Australian smartphone users will also own an MP3 player — by then, it could well be that MP3s will only still be loved by fitness junkies who don’t want to take their phone into the gym
• On eBay, sales of MP3 players and digital cameras fell by 13,800 and 8,300 units respectively in 2014 while overall consumer electronics sales were growing strongly. DVD and Blu-ray players grew by just 1% in 2014, a relative decline in comparison to booming growth in the flat screen TV market on eBay
• Today, Telsyte believes more than one million Australians use smart wristbands to track their steps as they seek a healthier lifestyle. This will increase as more people become aware of the potential benefits and as prices come down. This trend was also seen on eBay, with Australians buying 50,000% more smart wristbands on eBay in December 2014 than they did in January of that year
• The top five things Australians want to do with smart eyewear are entertainment (including gaming), navigation, news updates, health and fitness and shopping and e-Commerce
• The average household now has eight Internet-connected devices, up from seven last year, and this number is set to grow to 20 devices by 2019. Today’s connected devices include, on average, almost two computers per household, more than one-and-half smartphones, a printer, tablet and games console
• Australian shoppers seek lower prices and greater convenience when shopping online. Telsyte research suggests this is due mainly to the desire to get the lowest price possible, with many also citing the convenience of online shopping as a secondary factor.