LONDON: Big data, low-cost smartphones and the continuing rise of tablets will be among the main trends reshaping the media, technology and telecoms sectors in 2012, according to Deloitte.

The consultancy predicted 5m tablets globally will be purchased this year by consumers who already own at least one such device, yielding £1.3bn in revenues.

Indeed, Deloitte argued it was "worth remembering" several decades passed before over 5% of households had more than one car, telephone, radio or TV, a pace of growth that could be dwarfed by slate PCs.

"The tablet explosion has shown little sign of slowing down since hitting the market in 2010 and is set to take the mantle of the most rapid multiple market penetration in history," said Jolyon Barker, Deloitte's global lead, technology, media and telecoms.

Another core shift is likely to be the rise of smartphones costing £65 or less, some 500m of which will be in use by the end of 2012, driven by demand in fast-growth economies and young consumers in mature markets.

In a simultaneous development, the number of apps available will double from 1m to 2m during 2012. At present, however, most downloads are free, and just 20% of paid-for applications secure more than 1,000 sales, often thanks to heavy promotion.

Moreover, 200m handsets should offer near-field communications functionality by the end of 2012, allowing for the transfer of small amounts of data over short distances. This can be used for mcommerce, gaming, healthcare and even gambling, Deloitte said.

Elsewhere, the company stated projects tied to "big data", or the efforts of organisations to coordinate and manage the information from sources as varied as in-house sales figures to social media, could be worth between £650m and £1bn in 2012.

This can be compared with a total of £65m in 2009, and will result from the fact that an estimated 90% of corporations within the Fortune 500 should implement data-related schemes this year.

While online operators have taken the lead thus far, Deloitte believes financial services, retail and media firms will follow suit, triggering a "talent shortage", as 190,000 skilled staff will be needed in the US alone in the next five years.

The analysis also forecast a record number of electronics devices like TVs, PCs, mobile phones and MP4 players will be sold globally in 2012, but price deflation is set to exert a major influence.

When adjusting for inflation, Deloitte suggested a colour TV cost around £1,000 in the late-1970s, an amount which could buy a colour TV, two tablets, three smartphones and a netbook today.

Data sourced from Deloitte; additional content by Warc staff