Mobile broadband and consumer electronics markets see volumes fall

Mobile broadband and consumer electronics markets see volumes fall

Consumer electronics and mobile broadband markets have shown major falls in popularity, as retailers Best Buy and Comet begin reviewing the marketplace.

The total mobile broadband market (MBB) declined in September 2011 with a fall of around 25% on this time last year in volume, according to the latest GfK Retail and Technology UK data.

The main factor attributed to the decline is increasing smartphone penetration.

GfK figures now suggest that over 70% of the consumer market who hold a phone contract own their contract on a smartphone and over 80% of all people who took out a contract handset in September did so on a tariff that included a data component.

The only area of growth within the MBB market this year is in the Micro-Sim segment for use with tablet computers. Consumer electronics also declined in value by 8% in September 2011 compared to September 2010.

The performance is slightly up on previous months, which saw falls of over 14%, but means that this remains a very uncomfortable market for the industry.

The figures come in the week that Carphone Warehouse decided to axe its 11 Best Buy UK stores and Comet was sold for £2 to Hailey Holdings and Hailey Acquisitions, with decision due on the retailer’s future within the next 18 months.

Imaging fell also, by 4.4% over the same time frame with only the IT market seeing value growth of +5.6% September 2011 compared to September 2010.

GfK Retail and Technology UK's business group director Nigel Catlow said: ‘With Consumer confidence very low, replacement markets tend to suffer as existing owners delay replacement unless they see new “must-have” features or they experience device breakdown. Hence growth is focused on new devices with lower ownership levels.

‘There is one note of caution for October in this; while we expect the innovation in IT to maintain growth in the coming months, part of the improvement in consumer electronics was led by heavy promotional activity in September. Early indications of October suggest that this activity is lessening with performance worsening slightly. A return to low double-digit decline for consumer electronics seems likely.’

Joe Fernandez

Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today

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