(By Balachander) Global shipments of smart connected devices crossed 1 billion units in 2012, with Apple Inc. (AAPL) significantly closing the gap with market leader Samsung in the fourth quarter, International Data Corp. (IDC) reported.
IDC said worldwide shipments of smart connected devices rose 29 percent last year, with a value of $576.9 billion, chiefly driven by 78.4 percent jump in tablet shipments, which surpassed 128 million in 2012.
Combined shipments of desktop PCs, notebook PCs, tablets, and smartphones was nearly 378 million and revenues were more than $168 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012.
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In terms of market share, IDC said,the combination of Apple'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.
Looking forward, IDC expects the worldwide smart connected device space to continue to surge with shipments surpassing 2.2 billion units and revenues reaching $814.3 billion in 2017.
"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," added Bob O'Donnell, IDC Program Vice President for Clients and Displays. "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."
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IDC expects tablet shipments to surpass desktop PCs in 2013 and portable PCs in 2014. IDC forecasts global desktop PC shipments to fall by 4.3 percent and portable PCs to maintain a flat growth of 0.9 percent in 2013.
The tablet market, meanwhile, is expected to reach a new high of 190 million shipment units with growth of 48.7 percent while the smartphone market is expected to grow 27.2 percent to 918.5 million units, IDC said.
By the end of year 2017, IDC expects the tablet and smartphone markets to have a huge growth potential in the emerging markets. During this time, tablet unit shipments are expected to increase by a factor of 3 with a shipment value of $125 billion dollars while smartphone unit shipments are expected to double and reach a shipment value of $462 billion dollars.
Portable PCs, on the other hand will show a moderate single-digit growth while desktop PCs are expected to consistently decline year over year with almost no growth in 2017, IDC said.