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, IDC predicts that 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.
According to a new forecast from the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, as recently as 2010, PCs still made up the lion's share of the total SCD 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.
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%.
Consequently, by 2019, IDC expects the distribution to be 77.8% smartphones, 11.6% PCs, and 10.7% tablets.
"Smartphone growth continues at an astounding pace, while growth in the PC and tablet markets is proving to be more challenging," says Tom Mainelli, Program Vice President for Devices, IDC.
"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."
"Not all smartphone growth will be equal," adds Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager for Mobile Devices.
"Going forward, the future of smartphones lies in emerging markets, sub-US$100 price points, and phablets.
"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, Chau predicts that 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--<7-inch screen size.
"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," Chau adds.
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