Home Your Tech Mobility Mobile device ‘fatigue’ and ‘commoditisation’ hits Australia, NZ market

Mobile device ‘fatigue’ and ‘commoditisation’ hits Australia, NZ market

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For the first time in Australia and New Zealand, since the first quarter this year, all three mobile device markets – notebooks, tablets and mobile phones – declined for two consecutive quarters, according to the latest report from one global analyst firm.

According to IDC, the market contraction may, in fact, be an “early indication” of device fatigue and commoditisation.

"While it is not surprising that the notebook market recorded another quarter of market contraction, the consecutive tightening of tablet and mobile phones market is a first for ANZ," says IDC's Senior Analyst, Amy Cheah.

"This does not necessarily mean these markets have hit saturation point, but it may be an early indication of device fatigue and commoditisation as these newer markets mature.

“For hardware vendors, it will be increasingly challenging to find differentiation, especially now with software vendors such as Microsoft and Google making a move into the hardware space."

IDC reports that softening of the Australian economy also weighed down on demand, particularly for notebooks and tablets, while retailers have remained heavily stocked with inventory since Q4 last year, while the end of financial year did not spur consumer spending as much as past years.

Local channels and retailers were also reluctant to take in new shipments to minimise risk prior to their fiscal year end quarter. In contrast, the New Zealand market faired more positively, with PCs recording a 12% growth off the back of improving retail sales and business confidence, IDC reports.

"Acer was the standout vendor in the PC market in 2013 Q2. The vendor gained volume share through heavy discounting of its notebooks in retail, but at the cost of profitability. In the tablet market, demand for non-branded low-cost tablets has gradually waned since peaking last Christmas season. Apple, on the other hand, continues to see its share eroded by Android tablets, particularly from Samsung, and increasingly Windows tablets," says Cheah.

According to IDC, a total of 4.77 million units of client devices including desktops and mobile devices were shipped in 2013 Q2, but tablets took the biggest hit with a 20% quarter-on-quarter dip compared to a 6% decline in notebooks and 5% decline in mobile phones, consisting of features phones and smartphones.

Interestingly, says Cheah, the desktop market recorded an 8% sequential growth after several quarters of decline, “driven by strong vendor push of the all-in-one desktop form factor and a seasonal pick up in the Australian government desktop refresh at the end of financial year.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).


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