Smartphones to grab larger share of market as PCs and tablets slow

77.8 per cent of smart devices shipped by 2019 will be smartphones, predicts IDC
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Smartphones will make up the 'overwhelming majority' of smart connected device shipments (77.8 per cent) ahead of PCs (11.6 per cent) and tablets (10.7 per cent) by 2019, predicts IDC.

The analyst firm has put out a new forecast report, its Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, which states that the combined total market of smartphones, tablets, plus 2-in-1s and PCs, is set to grow from 1.8 billion units in 2014 to 2.5 billion units in 2019.

During that time, IDC expects smartphones will grow to represent the overwhelming majority of total smart connected device (SCD) shipments, dwarfing both tablets and PCs in terms of shipment volumes.

In 2010, PCs still made up the lion's share of the total device market, with the combined desktop and notebook categories accounting for about 52.5 per cent of shipments versus 44.7 per cent for smartphones and 2.8 per cent for tablets.

By 2014, however, smartphones had grown to represent 73.4 per cent of total shipments, while PCs had slipped to 16.8 per cent and tablets had increased to 12.5 per cent.

By 2019, IDC expects the distribution to be 77.8 per cent smartphones, 11.6 per cent PCs, and 10.7 per cent tablets.

"Smartphone growth continues at an astounding pace, while growth in the PC and tablet markets is proving to be more challenging," said Tom Mainelli, Program Vice President for Devices at IDC.

"There are clearly some bright spots in both markets: Detachable 2-in-1s show strong growth potential in tablets, and convertible notebooks are beginning to gain traction in PCs. But ultimately, for more people in more places, the smartphone is the clear choice in terms of owning one connected device.

"Even as we expect slowing smartphone growth later in the forecast, it's hard to overlook the dominant position smartphones play in the greater device ecosystem. And it's not likely that anything—including wearables—will unseat it from this dominant position anytime soon."

Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager for Mobile Devices, added that not all smartphone growth will be equal.

"Going forward, the future of smartphones lies in emerging markets, sub-$100 price points, and phablets," she said. "In 2014, 73 per cent of smartphones were shipped to emerging markets, 21 per cent were priced below $100, and 12 per cent had screen sizes between 5.5 inches and less than seven inches.

"By 2019, these categories will all increase – 80 per cent of smartphones will be shipped to emerging markets, 35 per cent will be priced below $100, and 32 per cent will have a screen size of between 5.5 and seven inches. So far the market has very much focused on premium models and brands, but emerging market consumers are looking for greater value from a single device."

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