Smartphone and tablet growth to slow in 2012

Smartphone and tablet growth to slow in 2012
Tablet buying slowdown

Growth in smartphone and tablet buying is set to cool in 2012, with the CEA – the people behind CES – predicting a big fall in popularity for the devices.

2011 was a massive year for tablets, with Steve Koenig, director and industry analyst at the CEA, noting that there was 207 per cent growth in the buying of tablets in 2011.

In 2012, however, this number has been slashed to 59 per cent. When it comes to smartphones, growth is set to drop from 63 per cent to 22 per cent.

One of the reasons for this could well be the explosion of apps on the market, meaning that consumers are personalising their devices with applications and because of this not looking for an upgrade.

The CEA is reporting that apps will be ones of the biggest things at CES 2012, which is a significant move away from what is usually a hardware-focused technology trade show.

Customisable experience

"[The abbreviation] CE doesn't just represent consumer electronics but customisable experience," said Koenig.

"We may have the same smartphone and tablet but we have different apps to make them our own.

"We will see this trend at CES; there is a lot of homogeneity in the mobile market.

"The biggest thing for manufacturers is how they differentiate their product. They should be looking at the content aspect as much as the device itself."

Despite the drop in popularity mobile devices, the CEA is still seeing smartphones and tablets as hot products for CES 2012 and they will bolster a market that's set to hit $1 trillion in 2012, up from $961 billion in 2011.

"Our figures show how resilient our industry has been," said Koenig. "Global sales only dipped by 8 per cent in 2009 when we hit an economic crisis and came back up in 2010."

One of the factors for growth is to do with emerging markets – when it comes to Europe, we seem to have flat-lined.

In 2012, we are set to only see one per cent of growth down from 7 per cent in 2011.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.