Smart device market to top 1.7bn by 2014: IDC

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Jun 13, 2013 - Page 13

Worldwide shipments of “smart connected devices,” including desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones, are expected to surpass 1.7 billion units next year, market researcher International Data Corp (IDC) said on Tuesday.

The US-based IDC forecast that worldwide smart connected device shipments this year would increase 24.09 percent to 1.5 billion units from 1.21 billion units last year. The volume is estimated to grow to 1.7 billion units next year and 2.32 billion units in 2017, IDC said in a report.

While global desktop shipments are forecast to drop 16.46 percent to 123.8 million units in 2017 from 148.2 million units last year, global laptop shipments are expected to increase 4.28 percent to 209.5 million units in 2017 from 200.9 million units last year, the report showed.

The decline in desktop shipments and the low single-digit growth in laptop shipments are due to the rise of tablets and smartphones.

Worldwide tablet shipments are forecast to nearly triple to 410.3 million units in 2017 from 144.4 million units last year, while worldwide smartphone shipments are estimated to more than double to 1.57 billion units in 2017 from 722.4 million units last year, the report showed.

By product, smartphones and tablets are forecast to account for 82.35 percent of the 1.7 billion smart connected devices shipped next year, representing more than US$500 billion in value.

Desktops and laptops are expected to account for the remaining 17.65 percent, with a market value of less than US$200 billion, IDC said.

“It is evident that smartphones and tablets have successfully established a strong presence as the ‘second screen,’ owing to the transformation in usage patterns, device affordability, and, most of all, the comfort of a mobile and digital lifestyle,” IDC research analyst Megha Saini said.

“Vendors and OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] need to be aware of the different usage patterns so as to drive product innovation that suits the tangible needs of their digital consumers,” Saini added.

IDC said the average selling price of tablets slid 19 percent to US$426 last year from US$525 in 2011, while the average price of smartphones dropped 8.2 percent to US$407 last year from US$443 in 2011.

Prices are forecast to continue declining at a steady pace, meaning that vendors would face challenges in maintaining profitability, IDC vice president Bob O’Donnell said.

“Given the competitive price points for cheaper smartphones and tablets, this price war is a race to the bottom and it is not at all clear that this low-end market offers sustainable profits to smartphone and tablet vendors,” O’Donnell said.