Research firm IDC says that 2012 was just the start for smartphones and tablets, and now expects shipments of both form factors to more than double over the next four years.
In a new report, the group revealed that tablet shipments grew 78.4% year-on-year last year to hit 128 million units, and expects that figure to surpass the shipments of both desktops and portable PCs in the next two years. IDC forecasts that tablet shipments will eventually stand at a mighty 352.3 million units by 2017.
The study, which was on the state of the global “smart connected devices” market, also illustrated a very promising future for the smartphone, which having hit 722.4 million shipped units in 2012, is expected to rise to a mega 1.516 billion shipped units by 2017.
Both the rise of smartphones and tablets will cause casualties elsewhere though, and IDC foresees further market declines for both the desktop PC and the portable PC.
Desktop PCs are forecast to slide from a market share of 12.4% in 2012 to just 6% in 2017, with IDC predicting that portable PCs will drop from 16.8% to 11% at the end of the forecast period, despite shipments actually rising by 19.3%.
“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,” said 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. These kinds of developments are creating exciting new opportunities that will continue to drive the smart connected devices market forward in a positive way.”
In its most recent study into the tablet market, IDC concluded that tablet shipments would reach 190 million units in 2013, with much of this growth owing to the rise of smaller, cheaper Android models.