Slowdown Hits UK Smartphone and Tablet Sales, Tough Competition Looms

Consumers Set to Benefit as 4G Devices Become More Affordable


  • Five million fewer devices will be sold in 2014 than in 2013
  • Mobile phone sales to drop 11% in 2014
  • Tablet sales to slump 14% in 2014

London, 3 July 2014. CCS Insight's latest forecast signals demand for smartphones and tablets in the UK has slowed dramatically. The research company estimates 27 million phones and 12 million tablets will be sold in the UK this year — five million devices fewer than in 2013.

The forecast showed sales of mobile phones dropped 20 percent in the first months of 2014 compared with the same period in 2013. Meanwhile tablet sales, which broke all records in previous quarters, slumped 17 percent. This is the first time such a sharp decline has been recorded in the vibrant UK market outside a recession.

However it's not all doom and gloom for the UK tablet market. With over 25 million tablets already in use in the UK — many of them being used by more than one person in a household — CCS Insight expects the number of tablets in use to double by 2017 as more people and businesses buy the devices.

Marina Koytcheva, director of forecasting at CCS Insight, said, "The slowdown in tablet sales should come as no surprise to the industry. We warned back in December that the spectacular tablet growth we've been seeing in the last two years was unsustainable. With replacement rates for tablets slower than those of smartphones, a temporary lull was inevitable."

But more worryingly, the forecast revealed that replacement sales of mobile phones are slowing, with consumers having little reason to upgrade as regularly as they have in the past. The pace of innovation in smartphones has declined and the growing number of attractive SIM-only deals mean people choose to stick with their current smartphone for longer than the usual two years.

This is happening despite the fact that many network operators have already started to offer 4G at no premium over 3G, less than two years after the first 4G services were launched in the UK by EE.

CCS Insight expects competition to reach unprecedented levels in the second half of 2014. Strong contenders for the consumer's gadget budget will come from the replacement of old PCs, neglected during the tablet boom, and a growing interest in smart wearable devices.

Ben Wood, Chief of Research at CCS Insight, notes "This is a double whammy for device manufacturers. No one anticipated we'd see so much pressure on both tablet and smartphone sales at the same time. In response to slowing sales consumer electronics companies will be tempted to step up their marketing efforts and spoil buyers with a wealth of attractive promotions and bundles. Early signs of this have already emerged, with cheap tablets or wearables being thrown in with a smartphone sale to sweeten the deal".

To address this, UK networks will have to get smarter in the way they offer their services. CCS Insight expects new tariff innovations such as shared data plans for 4G services, early upgrade schemes and keenly priced mobile deals to become part of home broadband or TV packages.

CCS Insight CEO Shaun Collins believes this is great news for consumers in the UK: "They're going to get more-affordable access to 4G services more quickly, cementing the UK's reputation as one of the most exciting mobile markets in the world".

Despite the challenging outlook for the rest of 2014, CCS Insight expects the market will get a lift when Apple unveils the next iPhone. Strong sales of the new device will revive people's interest in mobile gadgets, which could help other manufacturers as well.

Collins concluded, "This might mark the start of a whole new chapter in the UK mobile devices market. The Brits love their gadgets and now they have to spread their money across more devices. It's no longer just about having the latest and greatest smartphone."

For a PDF version of this infographic, click here.

For further information contact:
Hugo Deacon
Harvard PR
Tel: + 44 (0)20 7861 2842
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Hot News

Team Tweets

CCS Insight
As US consumers learn the true cost of smartphones, the end of subsidy has implications for Europe https://t.co/rFxAW20kM0
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
RT @benwood: A nice profile of Olaf Swantee in FT as he departs @EE now @BT deal is done. https://t.co/5sH876HSE7 https://t.co/4k3k5fX4Z3
Follow Shaun
Ben Wood
RT @tim: Whoever solves positional tracking in mobile VR wins big. Oculus looks to be giving Google a run for its money. https://t.co/DvNB…
Follow Ben
Martin Garner
Happy Birthday! @Facebook, 12 years old today.
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
We predicted Firefox would pivot Firefox OS to IoT 2 years ago. Arguably an even bigger challenge than smartphones https://t.co/rSLQBYbRJg
Follow Geoff
Nicholas McQuire
Why many of last loyalists ie banks are moving to Samsung. Would you invest in corporate BB hardware w such signals? https://t.co/9tSvlY1Hze
Follow Nicholas
Paolo Pescatore
Big day for @SkyUK with launch of #SkyQ; packages from £42/month. The most impressive TV service I've seen to date https://t.co/Ptj4ZIi0Ed
Follow Paolo
Marina Koytcheva
RT @CCSInsight: CCS Insight Predictions for 2017 and Beyond. 16 Nov 2016. Early bird tickets now on sale https://t.co/8gd800fxvT https://t.…
Follow Marina
Kester Mann
RT @benwood: The 5G hype begins ahead of #MWC16. At @CCSInsight we expect this will be a hot topic at the show. @kestermann https://t.co/4…
Follow Kester
Jasdeep Badyal
RT @benwood: Android tablet price erosion at #CES. $25.99 this year, $59 two years ago (2nd picture). $15 next year?? https://t.co/UZ7JIqyL…
Follow Jasdeep
George Jijiashvili
RT @benwood: Google to offer new virtual reality headset? https://t.co/h15nssbVWT #FT (Another #VR scoop for @FT's @Tim) https://t.co/fqdy8…
Follow George
Rebecca Morley
Early bird tickets: Predictions for 2017 and Beyond https://t.co/NYwaGEZxQd
Follow Rebecca
Katie Taylor
RT @guardianscience: A sigh's not just a sigh - it's a fundamental life-sustaining reflex https://t.co/Bgf0gvZcyU
Follow Katie

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post
Price Awareness Hits the Smartphone Market The End of Subsidy in the US Has Implications for Europe ... Read more
Blog Post
Super Bowl 50's High-Tech Kick Off The Big Game Gets a Silicon Valley Makeover On 7 Februar... Read more
Blog Post
GE to Fade out CFLs for LEDs A Big Boost for the Internet of Things This week, General... Read more
More blog

CCS Insight on

Watch the CCS Insight channel on YouTube. > Follow us now