eReader sales to reach 9.6 mln units by 2015 in EMEA

Wednesday 20 April 2011 | 13:47 CET | News

More than 1.9 million units of eReaders were shipped in 2010, with most of these distributed in Western European markets, according to a study by IDC. Although EMEA still accounts for over 15 percent of the worldwide market, IDC forecasts sales in this region to reach 9.6 million units by 2015, generating a 37.9 percent CAGR over the forecast period. eReaders have experienced higher growth in North America than in EMEA, mainly as a result of the uptake of Amazon Kindle devices by consumers in the US. However, as many European markets experience double-digit growth rates, the EMEA region is set to expand, roughly matching the size of the North American market by 2015. Many factors are contributing to this growing trend. Firstly, e-ink technology and long-lasting battery charge have proven to offer an appealing reading experience for readers in EMEA, which justifies the purchase of a specialised reading device instead of an LCD multifunctional device such as a media tablet. Current ereader prices are on average lower than media tablet prices and are expected to decrease yet more throughout the forecast period. Growth potential has also been improved by developments in the education sector. eReaders are being implemented in universities, schools, and public libraries across European markets as an additional consultation tool for students and users.


Developments in the education sector, combined with the price decrease, are likely to convert these reading devices from trendy gadgets into accessible commodity goods in the coming years. In this industry scenario the only real revenue will come from digital content rather than the actual reading device sales. Leading vendors are anticipating this trend and are increasingly positioning themselves as ebook providers rather than hardware vendors. Although all the vendors are eager to ensure access to content in different languages, availability of ebooks in languages other than English is fairly limited. Therefore the UK was the main market for eReader shipments in EMEA in 2010, followed by Germany and France. But the majority of local publishers in Continental Europe seem to recognise the potential offered by digital books and are gearing up to offer them in local language. Amazon has started direct sales of its Kindle eReaders through local Amazon websites in all the European markets. This has enabled improve Kindle sales, enabling the company to overtake Sony in terms of shipments and capture more than 35 percent market share in EMEA in 2010. Sony, however, retains strong presence in all the European markets. The EMEA market for ereaders is expected to grow by 37.9 percent CAGR over the next five years. Although ereaders will continue to be a consumer product, the education sector will increasingly drive growth, as digital content will be made available in different languages and the industry will converge even more to an industry standard digital format. Competition will increase as big names such as Acer and Asus enter the market. As users will want to have access to content, demand for connected devices will rise, adding pressure on smaller vendors to catch up with market leaders' devices.

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