History made as tablets overtake notebooks; headphones best category

The lead up to Christmas 2012 was the first month in Australian retail history that the value of tablet sales exceeded notebook sales. This was driven by more than double the amount of tablets sold compared to notebook computers, according to GfK Retail & Technology.

“The month of December was the first period in which unit sales of tablets more than doubled those of notebooks, and tablet value was also greater than notebooks for the first time,” said Gwenno Hopkin from GfK. “Fortunately, the uptake of media tablets was so strong on the lead-up to Christmas, that the revenue generated from this lower-priced segment outweighed the revenue declines in notebook and desktop computing.”

The pre-Christmas tablet market was strongly focused on Apple’s iPad and iPad mini products and the cobranded Nexus 7 from Google and Asus. Even though there was some debate over the success of these tablets, JB Hi-Fi CEO said that only stock shortages prevented even greater sales.

“The iPad mini is a great product and there was talk that it was a failure but as I’ve said before, you’d love more failures like that,” Smart said. “If we could have got the stock we wanted, it would have been a different result in December that’s for sure.”

Meanwhile, the value of headphones sales in the three months leading up to Christmas was equal to the entire home audio category, demonstrating the remarkably robust nature of that category. Unlike other categories, such as TV, which have chased greater volumes through lower prices, headphone suppliers have lured consumers to high-end, expensive models with clever marketing and brand endorsements.

Read UnderCurrent’s 25 Best Headphone Brands of 2012

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