Echoing trends seen in the UK and US, mobile devices are taking France by storm. As a result, the country’s market for smart connected devices maintained impressive growth in Q4 2013, with combined shipments of tablets, smartphones and PCs nearing 11 million units, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).
In total, 2013 smart connected device shipments in France exceeded 35 million units—a 7.1% year-over-year increase.
Tablets showed the most dramatic rises. Demand for tablets, including so-called “two-in-one” devices that combine laptop and tablet formats, was notable during the 2013 holiday period and contributed to total volumes of more than 6 million tablets sold in France last year—60.4% more than in 2012. This year, tablets will again dominate the growth story, with a predicted 28.1% increase in shipments. IDC forecast double-digit gains in tablet shipments during the next three years, as well, though annual growth rates will naturally decline as the market matures.
Meanwhile, smartphones continued to claim the largest share of devices monitored by IDC, in volume terms. Advanced handsets represented 55% of smart connected devices shipped in France—some 6 million units—in Q4 2013, but registered a more modest advance of 2.7% in the fourth quarter and 8.1% for the year as a whole. Expansion will remain subdued in 2014, at an estimated 6.8%.
Apple was the clear leader in the tablet market during Q4 2013, in terms of sales value, though Samsung maintained first place in terms of volume, with 1.8 million units sold in 2013.
In France’s PC market, Hewlett-Packard maintained a comfortable lead, but shipments were essentially flat. Lenovo was the only manufacturer to see growth in this segment in 2013.
The number of tablet users in France rose less rapidly than the shipments tracked by IDC—yet still climbed by roughly 40%, eMarketer estimates. We expect 19.5 million residents to use a tablet at least monthly this year, equating to 46.0% of internet users and nearly 30% of the population.
Rises in both tablet and smartphone penetration continue to fuel significant growth in time spent online in France. According to the Autorité de Régulation des Communications électroniques et des Postes, residents ages 12 and older spent an average of 12 hours online each week in 2013—though this was significantly higher for those under 40, and double (24 hours weekly) among 18- to 24-year-olds.
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