Smartphones grabbing larger share of smart connected device market

A new forecast from IDC Corp. pegs the global market for smart connected devices at 2.5 billion by 2019, up by one billion from 2014, with smartphones forecast to lead the way.

The data comes from IDC’s latest Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, which tracks the combined market for smartphones, tablets plus 2-in-1s, and PCs. While as recently as 2010 PCs accounted for more than half the total, the numbers have shifted dramatically since. By 2014, smartphones accounted for 73.4 per cent of the total, with PCs at 16.8 per cent and tablets at 12.5 per cent.

By 2019, IDC is forecasting smartphones to represent 77.8 per cent of smart connected device shipments, with PCs at 11.6 per cent and tablets at 10.7 per cent. Shipments of PCs appear to have stabilized, and recent data shows growth in the tablet market levelling off.

“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, in a statement. “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.”

That’s not to say all smartphone growth will be equal. IDC expects growth to be driven in three areas: phablets, emerging markets and the sub-US$100 price point.

“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,” said Melissa Chau, senior research manager for mobile devices at IDC, in a statement.


Smartphone shipments are forecasted to grow at a five-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.5 per cent, and tablets plus 2-in-1s by 3.2 per cent. Portable PCs will slip by .4 per cent, and desktop PCs by two per cent. Overall, shipments with grow by 6.5 per cent.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras is a technology journalist with IT World Canada and a member of the IT Business team. He began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada and the channel for Computer Dealer News. His writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Sun & the Ottawa Citizen.

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