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Positive sales of increasingly technologically advanced and functional smartphones effectively limit the demand of Polish consumers for tablets and notebooks. Nevertheless, the saturation of the market with smartphones makes it move towards stagnation. In the laptop segment, however, a renaissance is possible due to ultrabooks and gaming computers.
Sales boom on the smartphone market
In the segments of smartphones, tablets and notebooks on the Polish IT equipment market, positive sales trends are visible only in the first one. In recent years, there has been a dynamic growth in smartphone sales in Poland. In 2018 alone, approx. 9.5 million smartphones were sold, i.e. 9% more than in the previous year. As a result, the saturation of these devices in Poland is also growing. PMR estimates that in 2018 the number of smartphone users in Poland reached the threshold of 22.5 million, translating into a 69% penetration rate. It should be noted that the indicated values refer to the population of Poland aged 15 and over, hence one should be aware that the actual number of Poles using smartphones is at a higher level.
Positive sales trends of smartphones are mainly related to their increasing functionality and technical advancement, strongly linked to the development of mobile networks and the market of digital products (music and video streaming, games, mobile applications, social networking services). The sales boom of smartphones is also conditioned by their popularization made by mobile operators who actively promote “data” services in connection with voice services on mobile phones. According to PMR’s data, available in the report: “Mobile internet and value-added services market in Poland 2019. Market analysis and development forecasts for 2019-2024.”, mobile data revenues from mobile data transmission via smartphones account for over 60% of the mobile internet market in Poland. Moreover, smartphones build the mobility of today’s society. Smartphone sales are growing both in terms of volume and value. The growing market dynamics in terms of value is a result of the growing sales volume and the growing demand for more expensive devices, including premium ones.
Laptops and tablets in a downward trend
The sale of increasingly technologically advanced smartphones in parallel effectively reduces consumer demand for tablets and notebooks. These segments are currently in a downward trend. First and foremost, the tablet segment is clearly losing out on volume, for which smartphones with a tendency to grow displays are direct, outclassing competition.
To a lesser extent, smartphone sales take the market away from notebooks. Portable computers are responsible for the vast majority of sales on the Polish PC market. The best-selling laptops in Poland are still ordinary ones.
Prospects for growth: smartphone sales will slow down, opportunity for notebooks
According to PMR, despite a mature market, smartphone sales will continue to grow in the coming years, although in the short term the dynamics of change will be much lower. The market is likely to face stagnation in this period (2019-2020). In the medium and long term, market recovery is possible. This will mainly be determined by the life cycle of smartphones, which is relatively short (3-5 years on average), and their replacement with newer devices. In this context, a strong incentive will be the commercial implementation of the 5G technology, the first stage of which is planned for the end of next year. Mobile operators should play their role in smartphone sales anew – this time on the open market, without tying the customer with a subscription contract (hire purchase).
PMR does not expect any rebound in sales in the tablet segment in the coming years. However, a certain chance to halt the downward trend is the wider use of tablets in education and their specialized versions in business. However, so far there are no specific signals from the market that tablets are being used more widely in these areas.
PMR sees new growth potential in notebook sales. The product segments that can reverse the market are, for example, flash-based (i.e. SSD-only) computers or hybrid, ultrabooks and gaming computers. The sales volumes of these hardware categories are currently in a stable and growing trend.