Smart-Connected Devices Ship 303.6 Million Units in Q3

IDC's "Worldwide Smart Connected Device Market" report has confirmed that a record 303.6 million smart-connected devices shipped during 2012's third quarter. The smart connected device market, which includes personal computers, tablets and smartphones, grew by 27.1 percent year-over-year last quarter, with total shipments valued at $140.4 billion.

During the current quarter (Q4), shipments are expected to exceed 362 million units with a market value of $169.2 billion. Holiday season growth, meanwhile, will be spearheaded by tablets and smartphones, IDC said, which are expected to grow 55.8 percent and 39.5 percent year-over-year, respectively. PCs, however, are expected to decline slightly from the same quarter in 2011.

Samsung maintained its market leading position during the third quarter with a 21.8 percent share based on shipments. Apple, which ranked second overall in shipments, was the firm with the most value with a total of $34.1 billion, as well as an average selling price of $744 across all its devices.

"The battle between Samsung and Apple at the top of the smart connected device space is stronger than ever," said Ryan Reith, and IDC analyst. "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 $310 higher than Samsung's with just over 20 million fewer shipments in the quarter speaks volumes about the premium product line that Apple sells."

Lenovo followed in third place with a 7 percent share, while HP and Sony settled for 4.6 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively. "HP, which is virtually non-existent in the mobile space, has dropped its share from 7.4 percent in 3Q11 to 4.6 percent in 3Q12 with shipments declining -20.5 percent during that time," said IDC.

As for the future of the market, IDC expects worldwide shipments to surpass 2.1 billion units in 2016 with a market value of $796.7 billion.

"In 2011, PC's – a combination of desktop and portable PCs – accounted for 39.1 percent of the smart connected device market. By 2016 it is expected to drop to 19.9 percent. Smartphones will be the preferred product category with share growing from 53.1 percent in 2011 to 66.7 percent in 2016. Tablets will also grow significantly with share growing from 7.7 percent in 2011 to 13.4 percent 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 $534 in 2011 to $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, IDC's program vice president. "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."

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