The notebook, tablet, and mobile phone markets have seen decline for two consecutive quarters for the first time in Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ), and while this is not indicative of a saturation point, it could be an indicator of device fatigue and commoditisation, according to analyst firm, IDC.
IDC's figures indicate a total of 4.77 million units of client devices, including desktops and mobile devices, were shipped in the second quarter of 2013. Tablets took the biggest hit with a 20 per cent QoQ dip (although maintaining 25 per cent YoY growth). Mobile phones (both feature and smartphones) and notebooks suffered less, slipping five and six per cent, respectively.
IDC senior analyst, Amy Cheah, attributes this to the softening of the Australian economy which weighed down on demand particularly for notebooks and tablets. She also said retailers remained heavily stocked with inventory since the fourth quarter of 2012, while the end of the financial year did not spur consumer spending as much as past years.
"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," Cheah said.
"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."
Interestingly, desktops enjoyed an eight per cent quarter on quarter (QoQ) growth (marking a total 10 per cent drop year on year) on the back of strong vendor push of the all-in-one desktop form factor and a seasonal pick up in the Australian government desktop refresh.
Moving forward, Cheah said hardware vendors will face greater difficulty in finding differentiation, particularly with traditional software vendors, such as Microsoft and Google, moving into the hardware space.