Duncan Stewart, Director of TMT Research for Deloitte Canada, spoke at the recent INK+BEYOND newspaper conference in Charlottetown to share some of the forecasts from Deloitte’s latest TMT Predictions Report.
The annual report has been projecting trends in the technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) sector since 2001 and its list of predictions for 2013 was 85 percent accurate.
The death of the PC has been greatly exaggerated according to Stewart. “It’s about usage, not units,” he says. Laptops and other personal computers are still extremely relevant for individuals across all demographics—especially trailing and leading millennials who use larger screens for schoolwork and to consume television, movies and other videos. There are currently 1.5 billion desktop computers around the world and about 70 percent of worldwide page views still come from personal computers. In Canada, 80 percent of page views come from personal computers. While the mobile market continues to grow, newspapers can’t ignore the fact that a large majority of readers are accessing content on a PC.
Hardware vs. Software
Throughout the last decade we’ve seen massive growth in hardware sales. The global dollar value of all TVs, PCs, tablets, smartphones, and gaming consoles has gone from $250 billion in 2004 to a projected $768 billion in 2014. However, as devices become sophisticated and durable, Deloitte predicts that the hyper growth period will plateau. The decade of the device is over and we will start to see a definite shift in consumer spending. People will now have more money to spend on content, software, and services/data plans to connect devices to a network
“Wearable technology is overhyped,” says Stewart. The technology expert argues that the actual market for these products is relatively small compared to the publicity they receive. Expensive wearable gadgets such as Samsung's smart watches and Google Glass might have an initial appeal among curious early-adopters, but they don’t have longevity. Nike recently discontinued its own wearable hardware and stopped producing its activity-tracking FuelBand to focus on software efforts. Stewart insists that newspaper publishers don’t have to worry about making miniscule pages that fit on Google Glass screens. “These small lo-res screens are impossible to view in direct sunlight, only work with a smartphone and are terrible for sports, movies and television,” says Stewart.
Stewart has mixed feelings towards phone/tablet hybrid devices or “phablets.” These clunky mobiles—with screens larger than five inches—are impractical in many ways. Given their large size, phablets aren’t user friendly when it comes to making calls, typing with one hand or putting them in your pocket. Stewart cites a recent Canadian poll that revealed more than half of those surveyed said that they were “very unlikely” to ever buy such a cumbersome device.
But while phablets might have little appeal in North American and European countries, there is a major market for these over-sized devices in Asia where language characters are much larger. The screen’s extra real estate improves the texting experience and offers a better platform for mobile gaming.
There is an emerging demographic of younger peo