A new IDC report finds that the combined total market of smartphones, tablets plus 2-in-1s, and PCs is set to grow from 1.8 billion units in 2014 to 2.5 billion units in 2019. During that time, smartphones will grow to represent the overwhelming majority of total smart connected device (SCD) shipments, dwarfing both tablets and PCs in terms of shipment volumes.
As recently as 2010, PCs still made up the lion's share of the total smart connected device market, with the combined desktop and notebook categories accounting for about 52.5% of shipments versus 44.7% for smartphones and 2.8% for tablets. In 2007 the iPhone revolutionized the smartphone for consumers followed by the iPad that changed everything.
By 2014, smartphones had grown to represent 73.4% of total shipment, while PCs had slipped to 16.8% and tablets had increased to 12.5%. By 2019, IDC expects the distribution to be 77.8% smartphones, 11.6% PCs, and 10.7% tablets.
Tom Mainelli, Program Vice President for Devices at IDC stated that "Smartphone growth continues at an astounding pace, while growth in the PC and tablet markets is proving to be more challenging. There are clearly some bright spots in both markets" For instance, detachable 2-in-1s show strong growth potential in tablets, and convertible notebooks are beginning to gain traction in PCs.
Though 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."
"Not all smartphone growth will be equal. Going forward, the future of smartphones lies in emerging markets, sub-US$100 price points, and phablets," said Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager for Mobile Devices. "In 2014, 73% of smartphones were shipped to emerging markets, 21% were priced below US$100, and 12% had screen sizes between 5.5 and <7 inches.
By 2019, these categories will all increase – 80% of smartphones will be shipped to emerging markets, 35% will be priced below US$100, and 32% will have a 5.5 to 7 inch display or under. 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."
Even Apple can't deny the trend towards emerging markets. And while Apple will never seek to market to the low end of the market, Apple is reportedly working on a special kind of smartphone for emerging markets.