Education resellers can look forward to an expansion in hardware sales between now and 2015, according to analyst Futuresource Consulting.
Colin Messenger, senior consultant at Futuresource, said its latest strategic report pulls together all the elements of education hardware for the first time and delivers a fully comprehensive prediction for the global education market.
"Last year, worldwide spend on IT hardware in education was $9.5bn (£5.9bn), an 11 per cent increase on 2010 despite the global economic slowdown, and we are going to see this figure double by 2015," Messenger said. "The education sector is now emerging as a key vertical in the B2B arena, as governments across the globe are realising the benefits of an IT-literate workforce and the impact of technology as a teaching and learning tool."
He said the continued rise of mobile PC technology, including tablets and netbooks as well as notebooks, is a major driver. Mobile tech is key to many so-called "one-to-one" learning programmes now being adopted in schools.
"Dedicated single-function complementary devices such as voting systems will also come under pressure in the long term from tablets and other multifunctional devices," added Messenger (pictured, right).
"However, short to mid-term sales of complementary devices are expected to hold as few schools and universities can currently guarantee one-to-one device usage; additionally, infrastructure developments and penetration of cloud computing will support multifunctional devices longer term."
Mike Fisher, head of B2B at Futuresource, added that mobile PC sales alone will triple by 2015. "The notebook has been the main growth device for the past five years, accounting for more than 50 per cent of last year's market value," he said.
The American regions bought the most units. However, tablets are now coming to the fore, with most early growth coming from nationwide projects in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly Thailand, India and Korea. Tablet sales would also rise elsewhere, particularly as Apple announces its e-textbook platform, iBooks 2.
"Suppliers with the best combination of hardware, software and content are likely to dominate the landscape," said Fisher. "The ability of suppliers to monetise the content and services part of the ecosystem will be critical, and the development of content partnerships and content platforms is likely to be a key factor in overall market leadership."
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