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By | Tony Smith 10th December 2013 10:59

UK fondleslab surge slowing, says sales-sniffing specialist

But don't panic, growth's still running amazingly high compared to, say, PCs

British punters continue to favour fondleslabs, but all the signs are that the rocketing growth in sales seen in recent years is a ghost of Christmas past.

Growth is, however, robust, according to GfK, a market watcher which tracks over-the-counter sales in the UK rather than shipments from vendors. The number of tablets purchased in October this year was 50 per cent higher than the total bought in October 2012.

But that increase was well below the 134 per cent increase in volume seen between October 2011 and October 2012. Indeed, Gfk’s numbers show that during 2013, each month’s year-on-year growth has dipped over successive months, falling to just 18 per cent in September.

The month-on-month decline matches the one seen through 2012, but back then growth numbers were running to triple-figure percentages of 134-212 per cent. Only August 2012 saw less than double growth: an 85 per cent increase.

November 2012 saw year-on-year volume growth jump to 279 per cent on the back of new launches and Christmas. December’s increase dipped to 175 per cent, but growth went back above 200 per cent the following month - for 206 per cent increase, according to GfK - then to 238 per cent in February 2013 before plunging to 90 per cent in March.

GfK is keeping mum about its November 2013 numbers, but there is likely to be an increase in growth, but to nowhere near the same extent as was witnessed in 2012. We shall see.

Either way, it’ll be bad news for other computing products. Even with tablet growth slowing to 50 per cent, the devices accounted for almost two-thirds of all personal computing products bought in October. In October 2012, they accounted for half of such products.

The researchers' numbers also show the market has now settled down to a 60:40 percentage ratio between tablets with a screen smaller than eight inches and those with an 8-inch or larger panel. That ratio has been effectively static from February 2013 to October 2013 inclusive.

The average monthly price gently declined slightly, from a peak of £254 in March to £219 in October. ®

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