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A new forecast from IDC Corp. pegs the global market for smart connected devices at 2.5 billion by 2015, up by one billion from 2014, with smart phones forecast to lead the way.

The data comes from IDC’s latest Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, which tracks the combined market for smart phones, 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 smart phones 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.

“Smart phone 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 smart phone is the clear choice in terms of owning one connected device. Even as we expect slowing smart phone growth later in the forecast, it’s hard to overlook the dominant position smart phones 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 smart phone 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.

Smart phone 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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