Time to bag a tablet bargain this Chrimbo – Brit stocks are high

It's going to be a slash-tastic, tab-tastic Xmas

British retailers will be looking to clear a tablet glut this Chrimbo, and falling sales prices and cooling consumer interest in slabs will mean they’ll need to shift more to stand still.

According to Gartner, 83 million fewer slabs will be sold this year worldwide, with consumers sweating their assets for longer, renewed interest in traditional computers, and no major advances in tab tech to warrant upgrades.

Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, told us tab penetration levels in Western Europe were running at around 40 per cent, adding, “I don’t expect a major replacement cycle [this Christmas].”

But she added high inventory levels in the channel will likely mean that anyone in the market for a tab could pick up a bargain, as vendors “discount” stocks in order to clear the glut.

It is now four years since the effects of the recession hit discretionary household spending, translating into leaner times for the likes of Dixons Carphone et al.

Tab mountains are emerging in the UK as inventory has built up in the channel, major vendors – including Apple – have reported falling sales, and analysts have pegged back shipment forecasts for Western markets.

Shipment growth in Western Europe last year was 44 per cent but that is expected to decelerate in 2014 to 28 per cent growth, which most PC vendors would be pleased to achieve.

Smartphones, social media and US style shopping day extravaganzas such as Black Friday and Mega, both of which have crossed the Atlantic, are giving retailers warm, fuzzy feelings with their growth prospects this Xmas.

According to the CBI, 48 per cent of retailers said sales volumes in the year to September grew, 17 per cent said they fell, and the remainder were flat. The trade body did not break out consumer electronics. This was a month of above average sales reported by the CBI.

This contrasted with a report from the British Retail Consortium, which stated that sales figures for September were the lowest since December 2008, the year the credit crunch emerged. ®

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