Smart devices are set for a bumper US$169bn Q4, according to IDC

10 Dec 2012

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Smartphones dominated the smart connected device market in the third quarter of 2012 with 66pc marketshare. Overall, some 303.6m connected devices in the third quarter, including smartphones, laptops, desktops and tablet devices, were sold, up 26.5pc on last year and IDC projects that Q4 shipments will surpass 362m units.

The worldwide smart connected device market – a collective view of PCs, tablets, and smartphones – grew 27.1pc year-over-year in the third quarter of 2012 (3Q12) reaching a record 303.6m shipments valued at US$140.4bn.

Expectations for the holiday season quarter are that shipments will continue to reach record levels rising 19.2pc over 3Q12 and 26.5pc over the same quarter a year ago.

Fourth-quarter shipments are expected to reach 362.0m units with a market value of US$169.2bn.

Holiday season growth will be driven by tablets and smartphones, which are expected to grow 55.8pc and 39.5pc year-over-year respectfully, while PCs are expected to decline slightly from this quarter a year ago.

‘Battle between Samsung and Apple stronger than ever’

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Samsung maintained the top position in the third quarter, with 21.8pc market share based on shipments. Apple, which ranked second overall in shipments, led all vendors in value with a total of US$34.1bn in 3Q12 and an average selling price (ASP) of US$744 across all device categories.

Following Samsung’s 21.8pc share and Apple’s 15.1pc share were Lenovo (7.0pc), HP (4.6pc), and Sony (3.6pc).

While Samsung, Apple and Lenovo have all grown share over the past year, HP, which is virtually non-existent in the mobile space, has dropped its share from 7.4pc in 3Q11 to 4.6pc in 3Q12 with shipments declining -20.5pc during that time.

“The battle between Samsung and Apple at the top of the smart connected device space is stronger than ever,” said Ryan Reith, programme manager, Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers at IDC.

“Both vendors compete at the top of the tablet and smartphone markets. However, the difference in their collective ASPs is a telling sign of different market approaches. The fact that Apple’s ASP is US$310 higher than Samsung’s with just over 20m fewer shipments in the quarter speaks volumes about the premium product line that Apple sells.”

Looking forward, IDC expects the worldwide smart connected device space will continue to surge well past the strong holiday quarter and predicts shipments to surpass 2.1bn units in 2016 with a market value of US$796.7bn worldwide.

The smartphone will be king in the multi-device era

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IDC’s research clearly shows this to be a multi-device era, although market dynamics are shifting in terms of product category.

In 2011, PCs – a combination of desktop and portable PCs – accounted for 39.1pc of the smart connected device market. By 2016, it is expected to drop to 19.9pc.

Smartphones will be the preferred product category with share growing from 53.1pc in 2011 to 66.7pc in 2016. Tablets will also grow significantly, with share growing from 7.7pc in 2011 to 13.4pc in 2016. The shift in demand from the more expensive PC category to more reasonably priced smartphones and tablets will drive the collective market ASP from US$534 in 2011 to US$378 in 2016.

“Both consumers and business workers are finding the need for multiple ‘smart’ devices and we expect that trend to grow for several years, especially in more developed regions,” said Bob O’Donnell, programme vice-president, Clients and Displays.

“The advent of cloud-based services is enabling people to seamlessly move from device to device, which encourages the purchase and usage of different devices for different situations,” O’Donnell said.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com