THE FALL­ING RISE OF COM­PUT­ERS

HWM (Malaysia) - - THINK -

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

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