Apple, Samsung Battle For Smart Device Market Share: IDC

By the end of 2017, IDC predicted that the tablet and smartphone markets will have enormous growth potential in emerging markets.

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. Worldwide shipments of smart-connected devices grew nearly 30 percent year over year in 2012, crossing 1 billion units shipped with a value of $576.9 billion, according to IT research firm IDC’s latest Smart Connected Device Tracker.

In terms of market share, Apple significantly closed the gap with market leader Samsung in the quarter, as the combination of the company’s iPhone 5 and iPad mini brought Apple up to 20.3 percent unit shipment share versus 21.2 percent for Samsung. On a revenue basis for the fourth quarter, Apple continued to dominate, with 30.7 percent share versus 20.4 percent share for Samsung, the report noted.

By the end of 2017, IDC predicted that the tablet and smartphone markets will have enormous growth potential in emerging markets. During this time, tablet unit shipments are expected to increase by a factor of three with a shipment value of $125 billion, while smartphone unit shipments are expected to double and reach a shipment value of $462 billion.

However, the report indicated portable PCs will show moderate single-digit growth while desktop PCs are expected to consistently decline year over year with almost no growth in 2017. Mature markets already saw a huge plunge in the PC market in 2012.

"In emerging markets, consumer spending typically starts with mobile phones and, in many cases, moves to tablets before PCs," Megha Saini, research analyst for IDC's Worldwide Smart Connected Device Tracker, said in a statement. "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.

"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," Bob O'Donnell, IDC program vice president for clients and displays, said in a statement. "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."

In 2013, worldwide desktop PC shipments are expected to drop by 4.3 percent and portable PCs to maintain a flat growth of 0.9 percent. 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 percent while the smartphone market is expected to grow 27.2 percent to 918.5 million units.