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Looking ahead, IDC predicts that tablet shipments will surpass desktop PCs in 2013 and portable PCs in 2014. In 2013, worldwide desktop PC shipments are expected to drop by 4.3 percent and portable PCs to maintain a flat growth of 0.9 percent. The tablet market, on the other hand, is expected to reach a new high of 190 million shipment units, with year-on-year growth of 48.7 percent, while the smartphone market is expected to grow 27.2 percent, to 918.5 million units.
Emerging Markets Boost
From a regional perspective, the smart connected device volume in emerging markets grew by 41.3 percent in 2012 with the tablet volume growing by 111.3 percent and smartphone volume by 69.7 percent year-over-year. Mature markets, on the other hand, grew by 15.6 percent and saw a huge plunge in the PC market in the year 2012.
By the end of year 2017, IDC predicts that the tablet and smartphone markets will have a huge growth potential in the emerging markets. During this time, tablet unit shipments are expected to increase by a factor of three with a shipment value of $125 billion while smartphone unit shipments are expected to double and reach a shipment value of $462 billion. 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.
"In emerging markets, consumer spending typically starts with mobile phones and, in many cases, moves to tablets before PCs," said Megha Saini, research analyst for IDC's Worldwide Smart Connected Device Tracker. "The pressure on the PC market is significantly increasing and we can see longer replacement cycles coming into effect very soon, and that, too, will put downward pressure on PC sales."
Looking forward, IDC predicts the worldwide smart connected device space will continue to surge, with shipments surpassing 2.2 billion units and revenues reaching $814.3 billion in 2017.