UK: Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions 2012

Last Updated: 4 May 2012
Article by Deloitte Technology, Media & Telecommunications Industry Group

Most Read Contributor in UK, August 2017


Welcome to the 11th edition of Deloitte's Predictions for the technology, media & telecommunications (TMT) sector.

This annual publication presents Deloitte's view of key developments over the next 12-18 months that are likely to have significant medium- to long-term impacts for companies in TMT and other industries.

We would like to stress that latter point this year: across every global industry, knowing what will come next in TMT trends has become a key competitive differentiator. From big banks harnessing big data to auto manufacturers using MRI machines to fine- tune their marketing messages, this year's report has analyses that most C-level executives should find relevant.

As in 2011, this year's Predictions report is published as a single report rather than three separate ones. Deloitte's view is that developments in each sub-sector are now so inter-linked and interdependent that TMT executives need to be cognizant of key trends across all sectors.

I am often asked what differentiates Deloitte's Predictions different from other perspectives. I believe it is all about the methodology:

  • Rigorous research: We use both primary and secondary sources, fusing quantitative and qualitative analysis, based on hundreds of depth discussions, polling tens of thousands of individuals, reading thousands of articles.
  • Robust testing: We test out emerging hypotheses with Deloitte member firm clients, analysts and at conferences throughout the year. For example, Deloitte held a special Predictions session for key Asia Pacific leaders in Beijing in June 2011, and their contributions are reflected in this year's report.
  • Innovation: We publish only perspectives that we think are new or counter to existing consensus. This includes calling a market where most
  • Accountability: Our aim is to provide clear Predictions endpoints, so that our accuracy can be evaluated annually. In 2011, we were just over 80 percent accurate, up about 10 percentage points on 2010.

Our aim with Predictions is to catalyze discussions around significant developments that may require companies or governments to respond. We provide a view on what we think will happen, what will occur as a consequence, and what the implications are for various types of companies. We never however presume that ours is the last word on any given topic: our intent is to kindle the debate.

We hope you and your colleagues find this year's Predictions for the TMT sector useful. As always, we welcome your feedback. In addition to the text version of Predictions in this report, a discussion around each Prediction is available as a video, a podcast and an app.

Whether you are new to this publication, or have been following our Predictions for years, we thank you for your interest. And to the many executives who have offered their candid input for these reports, we thank you for your time and valuable insights.

We look forward to continuing the conversation.

Jolyon Barker

Managing Director

Consumer tech demand defies the economic headwinds

Deloitte predicts that overall global demand for consumer technology will likely grow in 2012. Record numbers of smartphones and tablet computers are likely to be purchased, and more computers of all descriptions are likely to be bought. Global television sales may see only modest growth on average, but sales are forecast to be robust in emerging countries1 . Even countries that are experiencing stagnant growth or mild recessions should see overall growth in consumer technology unit shipments, although the total dollar value may be flat as prices come down due to Moore's Law and new form factors.

While global economic growth forecasts for 2012 are weaker than those at the start of 2011, the outlook remains positive for most regions2 . However, developed markets are likely to see the weakest growth. In these countries, consumers may defer spending on big-ticket items while maintaining spending on smaller items, including consumer technology3. Emerging markets, where the installed base for many types of consumer technology remains relatively low, should still enjoy relatively robust overall growth (mid to high single figures). Lower entry-level prices for computers, as well as the availability of a widening range of less expensive smartphones, should further drive demand for devices in those countries.

Personal technology in 2012 will likely provide outstanding 'bang for your buck '. Although it may seem that modern society spends a lot on technology, the actual amounts are less than one might expect: the average US household spent only $1,200 on consumer technology in 2011, or less than 2.5 percent of median income4 . Consumer tech purchases start at the low tens of dollars for basic mobile phones, and rise to hundreds of dollars for high-end smartphones, tablets, laptop computers and televisions.

It is an exceptional tech purchase that cracks four figures in dollar terms today, while a decade ago the average PC or big screen TV typically cost more than $1,000. Three decades back, the average television cost an inflation-adjusted $1,800. Today that $1,800 could get you two large flat screen televisions, two tablets, two netbooks, three smartphones, and still leave change to take the family out for dinner.

Most consumers do not quantify value for money to the exact cent when buying or upgrading a device or service. But many are likely to have a rough idea of how much they might use it. Consumer technology generally fares well in this type of analysis. The average $500 tablet is used for 350-700 hours per year, implying an hourly cost as low as $0.70, assuming the tablet is kept for just one year5 . The average living room TV is typically used for three to five hours per day. Given that the price for an entry-level flat panel television is about $400, the hourly cost is $0.45 or less, again assuming the TV is kept for one year only6 . By contrast, the cost of a car, overseas vacation, music concert or sporting event is at least ten dollars per hour, and major events can cost hundreds of dollars per hour.

Consumer tech provides such good value for several reasons. Moore's Law allows vendors to offer ever- improving devices for ever-lower prices. Another driver is the high degree of competition for many categories of consumer technology7 . Margins for some TV vendors have been estimated by analysts at below two percent8 ; for others they are negative. Margins for some tablets are in the low single figures, with profits being primarily generated from accessory sales9.

Spending on consumer technology in 2012 may also be stronger than expected due to a structural shift in priorities. A growing number of individuals, across all regions, may be placing more emphasis on purchasing, owning and enjoying technology than ever before. At one time, the rite of passage for becoming an adult may have been buying a car and then a house. However, in 2012 the rising cost of running a car10 and buying a house11 may well cause priorities to be reset. Renting may become more acceptable, and taking public transportation, taxis and renting cars may become preferable to owning them, particularly in cities with highly congested roads12 . Spending less on housing and transportation enables more money to be spent on technology devices.

In emerging countries, consumer technology seems likely to remain a key purchase as households emerge from a subsistence-level existence. A television set is often one of the first items purchased in emerging countries with demand for TV sets even ahead of refrigerators, showers and electricity (many TV sets are powered by car batteries)13. In emerging markets the entry-level price for a television can be significantly lower than in developed countries, with thicker flat screen TVs (four centimeters vs. one centimeter) and cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs still selling well14.

Bottom line

Consumer technology has many reasons to perform well in 2012, even in markets with little growth, declining incomes and rising prices. There are several major advantages that should be emphasized: new markets enabled by the seemingly inexorable rise in different types of consumer technology; a steady increase in value for the money of many devices; and the growing importance of technology as a status symbol.

Consumers' budgets may be limited, but how they allocate their spending varies. In many cases, consumers can be readily persuaded to shift spending between seemingly un-connected categories – and marketing should exploit these tendencies. For example, consumers with constrained budgets may not be willing to choose between a television or computer; instead they may opt to stay close to home for vacation and then use the resulting travel savings to buy both devices15.

It takes two to tablet: the rise of the multi-tablet owner

Deloitte predicts that in 2012 almost five percent of tablets sold will likely be to individuals or households that already own a tablet, which equates to five million tablets16 worth between $1.5 and $2 billion in revenue. Although this represents a small percentage of total tablet sales, given that the tablet market is only three years old it likely marks the most rapid 'multi- anything' market penetration in history. It is also worth remembering that in January 2010, aside from the Predictions estimate, the most aggressive forecast for total next-generation tablet sales that year was one million units.

It took several decades after introduction for more than five percent of households to have more than one car, phone, radio or TV. More recently, over ten years passed before five percent of homes had more than one personal computer or cell phone.

The emergence of a multi-million strong cohort of users with two tablets in 2012 is part of a long-term steady increase in the number of computers used and owned per person17. Often called "scatter cushion computing" the main driver for multi-tablet individuals and households will be size, new form factors, price points and vendor business models.

The 75 million modern tablet computers sold since they launched in 2010 have clearly proven the demand for a device with dimensions and processing power somewhere between a smart phone and a laptop18. But thus far tablet demand has been largely homogeneous, even if the offer has been varied19: over 80 percent of all tablets to date have been roughly 10 inches in size, with a single LCD capacitive touch screen, weighing about 650 grams, Wi-Fi but no 3G radio, and an average selling price of about $60020.

In 2012, the supply of tablet choices is likely to become even more varied, and demand is likely to follow suit. As with smart phones, a category which now describes multiple types of devices21, tablets will become increasingly diversified by size, processor power, operating system and business model.

Size will be a key driver for multiple tablet ownership. There is likely to be a marked increase in the number and popularity of smaller tablets, ranging in screen size from five to seven inches22, with tens of millions sold by year-end, compared to a few million in all of 2011.

Purchasers of lower cost seven-inch tablets are likely to comprise first-time tablet owners, as well as existing 10-inch tablet owners simply wanting an additional smaller, lighter tablet that fits into a purse or pocket23.

Smaller tablets are likely to be used differently than their ten-inch equivalents, due to the reduced processing power that many smaller tablets are likely to have. Smaller tablets may be more frequently used for reading books, using apps designed for phones, showing photos to friends and family, and reading e-mail24. But smaller tablets may be less useful for browsing full versions of Web sites, flicking through magazines, reading business documents, analyzing data, writing documents, reviewing presentations, or watching long-form video.

Seven-inch tablets will likely mainly be sold at a lower price than 10-inch equivalents, from as little as $100, but more typically at $200. The principal impact of quality tablets at a lower price point will likely be a wider addressable market; however one group of purchasers of these lower-priced tablets will likely include individuals who have been issued a high-end, relatively powerful tablet for work purposes but who also want an additional tablet for private, home or family use.

The business model should also have an impact. A growing share of the tablet market is likely to be taken by devices with a purchase price that is at or below the manufacturer's cost, with all margins being made on subsequent service revenues, in the forms of content purchases (predominantly books, games and music), subscriptions and rentals. Content owners (from music companies to handheld games publishers) and retailers may want to actively forgo hardware gross margins on smaller tablets as a way of encouraging existing customers to move to digital, lower-cost distribution models.

Another driver of multiple ownership will likely be enterprise deployment of specific tablet models that workers are required to use, instead of generally available tablets. Possible reasons for this deployment approach include greater security, better compatibility with existing operating systems, and improved ruggedness25.

Botton Line

Device vendors, content owners and connectivity providers should all get ready to respond to the rise in multi-tablet households.

Content owners should ensure that the content and services available are optimized for different types of tablets based on size, type, capabilities and target market. Tablet usability will be compromised if content is repurposed from existing devices such as smartphones and other tablets with different capabilities.

Just as customers have shown a willingness to purchase multiple variants of the same product for everything from smartphones to sweaters, demand for tablets will likely follow suit as the devices become more specialized. Any vendor that is able to offer seamless content sharing among families of devices – as well as a common user interface – is likely to enjoy a competitive advantage. Content owners should enable owned digital content to be accessible across all devices (to the extent that regulations allow it). This may well involve replication of data across devices, rather than assuming constant access to media in the cloud.

Network operators should expect a steady rise in tablet ownership, and evaluate the impact this will have on connectivity. Tablet utility will depend on connectivity: the more useful and used a tablet, the more bandwidth it is likely to consume. End-users will of course hope for faster bandwidth and bigger monthly data allocations, all at a lower price. The demands for faster bandwidth and more data are not necessarily impossible to accomplish if users shape their data consumption to align demand with network availability, rather than expecting on-demand service at all times. Users can and should be encouraged to download tablet content, such as magazines, TV programs and movies, during off-peak periods, ideally using Wi-Fi; data back-ups between tablets and other devices can be sent via short-range networks, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct, bypassing the Web altogether26, yet still satisfying the need for connectivity. Operators should not assume that the places where tablet users want to connect will be the same as those for smartphone users, much in the same way that mobile data has a different usage footprint than mobile voice.

Primary and secondary tablets are likely to continue driving significant Wi-Fi traffic; hotspot providers will probably need to upgrade technology, deploy a denser grid of access points, and provision more and faster backhaul. Many hotspots were deployed at a time when tablets had not even been invented; demand for Wi-Fi connectivity will likely surge along with the growth in ownership of all types of mobile data devices.

Billions and billions: big data becomes a big deal

Deloitte predicts that in 2012, "big data"27 will likely experience accelerating growth and market penetration. As recently as 2009 there were only a handful of big data (BD) projects and total industry revenues were under $100 million. By the end of 2012 more than 90 percent of the Fortune500 will likely have at least some BD initiatives under way. Industry revenues will likely be in the range of $1-1.5 billion. But the industry is still in its infancy. Big data in 2012 will likely be dominated by pilot projects; there will probably be fewer than 50 full-scale big data projects (10 petabytes and above) worldwide.

Historically most of the world's accessible data has been located in traditional relational databases,

accessed and managed with a certain set of tools and analyzed and reported on with business intelligence software. The ability of those tools and software applications to cope with larger and larger data sets has grown over time, but in general any set of data that was viewed as being "too big" or needing results "too fast" was seen as requiring an entirely new set of tools, most commonly referred to as big data tools.

Until the last year or two, traditional data tool capacity had more or less managed to keep pace with the growth in data sets. However social networks, real time consumer behavior, mobility, sensor networks and other data generating sources have caused many organizations' data warehouses to overflow. Data sets an order of magnitude (or two) larger than before are either happening today, or are seen as likely within the next 12 months. Even when the size of a data set has not grown so quickly, if organizations now want to do analysis in real-time, sometimes traditional tools are not adequate and big data is again being considered.

From being the sort of tool that was only needed for meteorology or physics simulations, big data has recently moved into the mainstream: individual big data conferences28 are drawing thousands, BD companies are attracting funding rounds of over $50 million29, BD venture funds are being created30, and large existing software players are validating the markets by partnering with or acquiring outright early stage leaders in the space31.

Not all industries are likely to benefit from big data projects equally, and uneven distribution of BD across verticals is already perceptible. Not surprisingly, the first movers were Internet companies: in fact, the most popular big data tools are being built on top of software that was originally used to batch process data for search analysis32. The fast follower sectors are likely to be public sector, financial services, retail, and entertainment and media33.

Like many emerging technologies, BD can be easy to read about, but hard to picture in real world

applications. A recent example from the media industry may help:

"The Financial Times uses big data analytics to optimize pricing on ads by section, audience, targeting parameters, geography, and time of day. Our friends at the FT sell more inventory because the team knows what they have, where it is and how it should be priced to capture the opportunity at hand. To boot, analytics reveal previously undersold areas of the publication, enabling premium pricing and resulting in found margin falling straight to the bottom line.34"

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1 The forecast for 2011 (a post World Cup year) was for a small decline in sales, to 250 million units, down about one percent year-on-year. The forecast for 2012 is for about five percent growth in units to 262 million. Source: World Market of Consumer Technics, GFK/CEA 2011:–2011_GfK–Boyny.pdf

2 As of November 2011, the OECD's forecast for Eurozone growth was positive, at 0.2 percent for 2012, as was Goldman Sachs' outlook for Europe in October 2011, at 0.1 percent for 2012. Source: OECD calls for urgent action to boost ailing global economy, OECD, 28 November 2011:,3746,en_21571361_44315115_49095919_1_1_1_1,00.html ; Source: Global Themes and Risks, Goldman Sachs Research, October 2011:

3 In a country experiencing low levels of growth (by historical standards) following a recession, such as the United States in 2011, spending on smaller ticket items has returned to pre-recession levels, with spending on personal technology particularly resilient; however, spending on larger ticket items such as cars and housing remains slow. Source: What Americans are(n't) buying, Financial Times, 7 November 2011: /

4 American Households Spend More Than $1,100 Annually On Consumer Electronics, CEA Study Finds, EON, 23 May 2011:

5 In India, basic seven-inch tablets are available at a retail price of $100. See: Indian tablet market abuzz with low-priced entrants starting at $99, The next Web, 22 August 2011: /

6 In Korea, 32-inch flat panel full HD LED screens are available for about $440. See: Samsung TVs feel the squeeze, Beyondbrics, 24 November 2011: ; In the United States, the cheapest 32-inch televisions cost about $250 as of December 2011, based on pricing at / for a 720p 60Hz LCD HD TV.

7 In Japan, the average price of a 32-inch LCD TV fell from Y62,000 ($800) to Y47,000 ($610) in the year to May 2011. See: Japan ponders pulling the plug on TVs, Financial Times, 16 August 2011:

8 Samsung TVs feel the squeeze, Beyondbrics, 24 November 2011:

9 The iPad's other big advantage: Retailers only get 3% off, Tech Republic, 11 March 2011:;siu-container

10 In the United Kingdom, according to one motoring association, the average cost of running a car, considering fuel costs, depreciation and insurance is about $10,000. This represents a year-on-year rise of 14 percent. See: Cost of motoring increases at three times rate of inflation, The Telegraph, 23 November 2011: . For further information on the cost of motoring see: Ever wonder how much you're really paying to drive your car each year, AAA Exchange Website: , Private Ownership Costs, New - 5 years @ 15,000km per year, RACQ 2011:

11 First-time buyers: Life begins at 40, The Independent, 20 November 2011:

12 Cities where there has been a significant shift from driving to public transportation include Nairobi, Mexico City, Shenzhen, Buenos Aires and Beijing. See: IBM Global Commuter Pain Survey: Traffic Congestion Down, Pain Way Up, Armonk, 8 September 2011: pressrelease/35359.wss.For information on the extent and rise of traffic congestion see: Traffic Congestion in Europe, INRIX Website: ; UK is Europe's most traffic-clogged nation, ClickGreen, 3 November 2010:

13 In Mexico, more houses have televisions (93 percent) than fridges (82 percent) or showers (65 percent). The number of homes without a bare earth floor is just one percent lower than those without a television. See: TVs outnumber fridges, The Economist, 28 April 2011:

14 Fatscreen is the new flatscreen, Beyondbrics, 25 October 2011:

15 Spending on technology and communications products is forecast to rise by 20 percent between 2010 and 2015 in the United Kingdom. In 2010, half of UK adults perceived a vacation as a luxury, up from 38 percent prior to the recession. See: Essential items top consumer shopping lists but economic worries top woes, Mintel Oxygen Reports, August 2010:

16 Figure for multi-tablet ownership volume and the total tablet market for 2010, 2011 and 2012 are estimates based on conversations with industry players, existing knowledge, and published industry estimates and forecasts, including: Apple to sell 149 million iPads in '15, researcher says, CNET News, 22 September 2011: /, Tablet Demand and Disruption, Morgan Stanley Research, 14 February 2011: , Media Tablet and eReader Markets Beat Second Quarter Targets, Forecast Increased for 2011, IDC Press Release, 14 September 2011:

17 From a computer per continent in the early 1950s, to a computer per upper-quartile home in developed countries at the start of the millennium, to multiple smartphones among early adopters at the start of the decade, our lives are steadily, and seemingly inexorably, becoming immersed among a range of increasingly specialized computers. Just ten years ago, the personal computer was a multi-purpose, multi-tasking device that served a range of functions, from e-mail to playing games and from browsing to radio listening.

18 Shipments of tablets in 2010-2011 have been estimated at 81 million. Sales are several million units less than shipments. Source: Apple to sell 149 million iPads in '15, researcher says, CNET News, 22 September 2011: /

19 For example in Western Europe, sales of seven-inch tablets in August 2011 were estimated at two percent. See: Why analysts can't tell you how iPads are selling – so tell you about others, The Guardian, 25 November 2011:

20 Prices refer to the advertised, unsubsidized prices to customers (before sales tax or VAT).

21 According to research undertaken in January and February 2011 with 30,000 respondents across 15 countries, of respondents that owned or had access to a smart phone, about 27 percent of respondents owned, or had access to, more than one smart phone. For more information, see: Addicted to connectivity, Deloitte Global Services Limited, 14 February 2011,

22 For example, see: Lenovo unveils three new Android tablets--5, 7, and 10 inchers, CNET, 29 November 2011: /

23 Source: Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, PCMAG, 30 November 2011:

24 For a discussion on how smaller tablets may be used, see: Smaller, cheaper tablets could become a big deal, CNN Tech, 26 October 2011:

25 Specialized rugged tablets will also be launched in 2012: these will be for industrial use in most cases and are likely to have much higher prices. Source: Getac Releases World's Smallest, Toughest Tablet, EON, 30 November 2011: tablet ; Motorola unveils rugged ET1 Android tablet for enterprise types (video), Engadget, 10 October 2011: /; Panasonic Toughbook to address market void by delivering enterprise-grade Android tablet, Business Computing World, 20 June 2011: /

26 For further discussion, please see the 2012 Prediction: Bypassing the Web: alternative short range transmission solutions, Deloitte Global Services Limited 27 Big data is a term applied to data sets whose size is beyond the ability of commonly used software tools to capture, manage, and process the data within a tolerable elapsed time. Big data sizes are a constantly moving target currently ranging from a few dozen terabytes to many petabytes of data in a single data set.

28 Enterprise Applications: Hadoop World 2011: 15 Key Takeaways, Slide 2, eWeek, 15 November 2011: /

29 'Big Data' Firm Raises $84 Million, The Wall Street Journal, 14 September 2011:

30 Accel Makes Big Commitment To Big Data With $100M Fund, The Wall Street Journal, 8 November 2011:

31 Teradata to introduce new 'big data' analytic solutions to Egypt, Daily News Egypt, Dec 13, 2011

32 Hadoop: The Definitive Guide, Tom White, 2009, O'Reilly Media, Inc.,

33 This assessment is based on publicly disclosed big data project announcements and Deloitte member firm interviews.

34 How Big Data Analytics Can Save Publishing, AdAgeDigital, 5 December 2011: /

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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