Dixons Carphone adds to picture of tablet declines

Demand for tablets appears to be stuttering this year with Dixons Carphone highlighting a decline in its H1 results

This time last year the focus was very much on tablets and consumers were making them the ideal stocking filler but 12 months on and the demand for the form factor is nowhere near as high.

Numbers yesterday from Context revealed that tablet sales across Western Europe had declined in the months from January to November by 1.8% and the analyst house blamed market saturation in mature markets as well as longer than expected life cycles.

That feeling of tablets being off the Christmas menu was giving more weight by the announcement of the first set of half year results from Dixons Carphone, which came with comments from the retailer over the dropping demand for the products.

"In computing, the laptop market appears to be stabilising, whilst tablets were down year-on-year due to limited product innovation," stated the firm in its interim results.

Aside from tablets the retailer was able to describe its H1, for the 31 weeks ended 1 November, as a "barnstorming performance" with a 5% increase in sales to £5.02bn. There was a £20m pre-tax loss but that was largely as a result of the £100m that was spent on the merger of the two retailers into a single entity.

In the UK and Ireland revenue was up in H1 by 6% and the firm was able to take advantage of the closure of rival Phones4U and highlighted the benefits of the merger had already started to filter through.

Sebastian James, group chief executive at Dixons Carphone, said that UK performance was very strong and put it into a good position just ahead of its key trading period.

"We have seen a barnstorming performance from our UK & Ireland division with like-for-like sales growth of 6% in the first half and 11% in Q2. This has been driven by continued improvements in price and service, competitive changes, technology launches and some recovery in the economy," he said.

"The integration of our business seems to be going better than I dared hope, and our integrated stores are trading very well which augurs well for the future. There is still much, much more to do, but I have been struck by the willingness of people at all levels and from all parts of the business to roll up their sleeves and get on with it," he added.

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