The start of a new year is a time for reflection and resolutions. As we move through January we often shape and finalize goals and objectives for the upcoming year. However, in the business world the most important question is how did the last year end? How did the market do and how did my business do? Will we see decline or growth in the year to come? These are great questions which can, and should, be examined.
This year I thought it would be fitting to begin the New Year with a brief analysis of how the Canadian IT Hardware distribution market fared in 2016. According to The NPD Group, the industry posted positive growth of +6 per cent in 2016 over the previous year.
There are a few categories that helped spur this growth. Categories like Notebooks, Large Format Commercial Displays and Solid State Drives all posted double digit growth on the year. Tablets in particular had a role to play in the overall growth of the commercial market in 2016.
Tablets posted an overall growth of +13 per cent for the year. However, if we exclude the retail channel which gives us a pure commercial view, the Tablet category actually grew an impressive of +59 per cent. This is especially encouraging given the lackluster growth that Tablets have seen in the consumer market over the last 3 years.
But why has the category seen such stellar growth in the commercial market?
As you can imagine, the use of Tablets is widespread in the commercial space. Not only are they being used by businesses (both large and small) for productivity but they are also being used in places like doctors’ offices and medical clinics, where physicians can take notes and print prescriptions quickly and easily. Other niche businesses are also beginning to utilize Tablets to organize processes and reduce paperwork. For example, if you have visited or taken your children to a paint ball arena, rock climbing gym, or indoor playground, you will notice that owners/operators of these businesses are often utilizing Tablets to manage consent forms, waivers and registration. Another common application includes their use in restaurants where your orders are taken and sent directly to the kitchen for speedy prep and payment.
These applications are also driving certain product sales. For example, it is not surprising that the use of larger Tablets in these environments is common. NPD distributor track non-retail data shows that Tablets with screen sizes of 10+ inches almost doubled their revenue in 2016 vs. the year prior.
While Tablets have quickly become a useful tool for businesses of all kinds, the question remains whether or not this momentum will continue, and for how long?
My contention is that as long as businesses are able to save time and money by leveraging Tablets the category will continue to grow in the commercial space.