Smart connected devices surpassed 1 billion units for 2012 worldwide, smartphones and tablets grew exponentially


These numbers shouldn’t really surprise anyone, but a ton of people bought smart devices in 2012, according to IDC. They bought over 1 billion of those devices, actually. That includes, desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The leaders there were (obviously) Samsung and Apple, with Apple accounting for 20.3% and Samsung accounting for 21.2%. Pretty impressive for just two companies.

IDC also expects smartphone and tablet sales to surpass PC sales in 2013, which, considering how fast new phones and tabs seem to sell, isn’t all that surprising. They’re predicting PC sales will actually stall to no growth whatsoever by 2017. Four years is a long time, and things can change, but if the market continues on the trend it’s going now, I think that’s a very realistic result.

What do you guys think? Are you surprised that portable devices are eating into traditional PC market share? Do you think that’ll turn around in a year or two? Let us know in the comments.

March 26, 2013 08:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time 

Worldwide Smart Connected Device Market Crossed 1 Billion Shipments in 2012, Apple Pulls Near Samsung in Fourth Quarter, According to IDC


FRAMINGHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–According to the International Data Corporation (IDCSmart Connected Device Tracker, worldwide shipments of smart connected devices grew 29.1% year over year in 2012, crossing 1 billion units shipped with a value of $576.9 billion. The market expansion was largely driven by 78.4% year-over-year growth in tablet shipments, which surpassed 128 million in 2012.

“The pressure on the PC market is significantly increasing and we can see longer replacement cycles coming into effect very soon and that, too, will put downward pressure on PC sales.”

Looking specifically at the results for the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12), combined shipments of desktop PCs, notebook PCs, tablets, and smartphones was nearly 378 million and revenues were more than $168 billion. In terms of market share, Apple significantly closed the gap with market leader Samsung in the quarter, as the combination of Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPad Mini brought Apple up to 20.3% unit shipment share versus 21.2% for Samsung. On a revenue basis for the fourth quarter, Apple continued to dominate with 30.7% share versus 20.4% share for Samsung.

Going forward, IDC expects that tablet shipments will surpass desktop PCs in 2013 and portable PCs in 2014. In 2013, worldwide desktop PC shipments are expected to drop by 4.3% and portable PCs to maintain a flat growth of 0.9%. The tablet market, on the other hand, is expected to reach a new high of 190 million shipment units with year-on-year growth of 48.7% while the smartphone market is expected to grow 27.2% to 918.5 million units.

From a regional perspective, the smart connected device volume in emerging markets grew by 41.3% in 2012 with the tablet volume growing by 111.3% and smartphone volume by 69.7% year over- year. Mature markets, on the other hand, grew by 15.6% and saw a huge plunge in the PC market in the year 2012. By the end of year 2017, IDC predicts that the tablet and smartphone markets will have a huge growth potential in the emerging markets. During this time, tablet unit shipments are expected to increase by a factor of 3 with a shipment value of $125 billion dollars while smartphone unit shipments are expected to double and reach a shipment value of $462 billion dollars. Portable PCs, on the other hand will show a moderate single-digit growth while desktop PCs are expected to consistently decline year over year with almost no growth in 2017.

“In emerging markets, consumer spending typically starts with mobile phones and, in many cases, moves to tablets before PCs,” said Megha Saini, Research Analyst for IDC’sWorldwide Smart Connected Device Tracker. “The pressure on the PC market is significantly increasing and we can see longer replacement cycles coming into effect very soon and that, too, will put downward pressure on PC sales.”

Looking forward, IDC predicts the worldwide smart connected device space will continue to surge with shipments surpassing 2.2 billion units and revenues reaching $814.3 billion in 2017. “Consumers and business buyers are now starting to see smartphones, tablets, and PCs as a single continuum of connected devices separated primarily by screen size,” addedBob O’Donnell, IDC Program Vice President for Clients and Displays. “Each of these devices is primarily used for data applications and different individuals choose different sets of screen sizes in order to fit their unique needs. These kinds of developments are creating exciting new opportunities that will continue to drive the smart connected devices market forward in a positive way.”

Smart Connected Device Year-over-Year Growth by Region and Product Category, 2012-2017

Region     Product Category     2012     2013*     2017*
Mature Market     Desktop PC     -4.8%     -5.5%     -2.9%
Mature Market     Portable PC     -8.1%     -3.1%     -1.4%
Mature Market     Tablet     62.8%     41.4%     8.3%
Mature Market     Smartphone     20.6%     15.1%     4.6%
Total Market           15.6%     13.8%     4.2%
Emerging Markets     Desktop PC     -3.8%     -3.5%     0%
Emerging Markets     Portable PC     -0.8%     4.1%     7.1%
Emerging Markets     Tablet     111.3%     60.7%     13.4%
Emerging Markets     Smartphone     69.7%     35.1%     12.2%
Total Market           41.3%     26.6%     10.9%
Worldwide     Desktop PC     -4.1%     -4.3%     -1.0%
Worldwide     Portable PC     -3.4%     0.9%     3.7%
Worldwide     Tablet     78.4%     48.7%     10.6%
Worldwide     Smartphone     46.1%     27.2%     9.8%
Total Market           29.1%     21.2%     8.5%

Source: IDC’s Worldwide Smart Connected Device Tracker Forecast Data, February 28, 2013

* Forecast estimates.

Smart Connected Device Market by Product Category, Shipments, Market Share, 2012-1016 (units in millions)

Product Category    

2012 Unit


2012 Market


2017 Unit


2017 Market



Desktop PC     148.4     12.4%     141.0     6.0%     -5.0%
Portable PC     202.0     16.8%     240.9     11.0%     19.3%
Tablet     128.3     10.7%     352.3     16%     174.5%
Smartphone     722.4     60.1%     1,516     67%     109.9%
Total     1,201.1     100.0%     2,250.3     100.0%     87.3%

Source: IDC’s Worldwide Smart Connected Device Tracker Forecast Data, February 28, 2013

* Forecast estimates.

In addition to the table above, a graphic showing annual smart connected device shipments for the 2012-2017 forecast period is available at The chart is intended for public use in online news articles and social media. Instructions on how to embed this graphic can be found by viewing this press release on

About IDC Trackers
IDC Tracker products provide accurate and timely market size, vendor share, and forecasts for hundreds of technology markets from more than 100 countries around the globe. Using proprietary tools and research processes, IDC’s Trackers are updated on a semiannual, quarterly, and monthly basis. Tracker results are delivered to clients in user-friendly excel deliverables and on-line query tools. The IDC Tracker Charts app allows users to view data charts from the most recent IDC Tracker products on their iPhone and iPad.

About IDC
International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. For more than 49 years, IDC has provided strategic insights to help our clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world’s leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting

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Bob O’Donnell, 650-350-6482
twitter: @bobodtech
Ryan Reith, 650-350-6242
Twitter: @ryanreith
Michael Shirer, 508-935-4200
Twitter: @IDC

About the Author: Jared Peters

Born in southern Alabama, Jared spends his working time selling phones and his spare time writing about them. The Android enthusiasm started with the original Motorola Droid, but the tech enthusiasm currently covers just about everything. He likes PC gaming, Lenovo's Moto Z line, and a good productivity app.