Tablets and smartphone shipments will officially overtake PCs by 2015

If you aren’t already convinced of smartphones and tablets becoming the dominant personal computing devices in our lives, here’s the cold hard data that’ll change your mind.

Technology research firm IDC released its latest forecast for device shipments which revealed that tablet and smartphone shipments will surpass total PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2013, and will regularly outnumber PC shipments on an annual basis by 2015.

Smartphone usage will continue to grow at an exponential rate, surpassing 1.4 billion units in 2015 and making up 69% of all smart connected device shipments worldwide.

But it’s not all gangbusters when it comes to smartphones and tablets. The worldwide smart connected device market will experience double digit growth again this year, increasing 10.6% in 2013 over last year, but this growth will gradually slow to just 3.1% in 2017.  IDC says the declining revenue forecast reflects the increasing impact of low-cost smartphones and the white box tablet market. Much has been made of Apple’s new budget iPhone model the iPhone 5C, (which isn’t really budget at all) and the numbers point to an increasing impact of budget smartphones in the market.

“At a time when the smartphone and tablet markets are showing early signs of saturation, the emergence of lower-priced devices will be a game-changer,” said Megha Saini, Research Analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker. “Introducing new handsets and tablet devices at cheaper price points along with special initiatives like trade-in programs from Apple and BestBuy will accelerate the upgrade cycle and expand the total addressable market overnight.”


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