THE FALLING RISE OF COMPUTERS
Back in April, I attended the 2016 IFA Global Press Conference (GPC) in Hong Kong and Shenzhen. It’s an annual affair by Messe Berlin, the people behind the IFA consumer electronics show that happens around September in Berlin, Germany. The IFA GPC is more of a prelude of what’s to come, where brands and analysts talk trends. Traditionally, the IFA GPC is held in Europe, but this marks the first year they’re holding it in Asia, and for good reason.
As China continues to become a major player in global consumer electronics and technology, focus on China and Asia has never been bigger. Last year, the American-based Consumer Electronics Show was exported into China as CES Asia, and this year, Messe Berlin followed suit by bringing the IFA concept into China. Known as CE China, the show was held in Shenzhen from the 20th-22nd April.
The major recurring theme of the year is 42 HWM | JUNE 2016 by ZacharyChan the connected consumer and the surrounding ecosystem of wearables and the Internet of Things. What you may find interesting is the evolving definition of what a connected consumer is.
In 2003, when Intel launched their Centrino platform, it was hailed as a wireless revolution that would usher in the era of mobile connectivity with better battery life and integrated high-speed Wi-Fi for notebooks. Some will say that the true revolution began in 2007, when the Apple iPhone effectively shrunk the computer down into the size of your palm, offering communications, mobile broadband and apps in one device. The explosive rise and continued growth of smartphones since then have put the PC market on the path of continuous decline.
Every single sales or market report points to this trend toward the smaller mobile screen. GfK reports that the computing devices market in APAC (comprising desktop, notebook and tablets) saw a 14-percent decline collectively in 2015 compared to 2014. Smartphones, on the other hand, saw a 17-percent increase in total units sold in 2015. Of the 23,000 different models being released through the year, Chinese brands saw at 30-percent increased market share.
Further insights from GfK showed that among 10 Asian markets surveyed, the number of consumers who access the Internet daily from a mobile device has caught up to that of computers. Comparing PC access to mobile access, Singapore polled 85 to 83 percent, Malaysia polled 85 to 80 percent, Indonesia polled 82 to 81 percent, and Thailand polled 81 to 83 percent.
However, that doesn’t mean the PC market hasn’t been fighting to buck the trend, and it involves some creative product marketing. Think about the last time you walked into an electronics store or saw an ad for a PC, you’d probably have seen buzzwords like convertibles, hybrids and 2-in-1s thrown about. Rarely are computers referred to as computers anymore, and according to Gerard Tan, APAC Director for Technology and Consumer Choices at GfK, this tactic may actually be working.
While global numbers are down as mentioned before, these creative categories and form factors are doing their part to drive