Report: Smartphones To Account for Nearly 4 of 5 Smart Connected Devices by 2019

The combined market for smartphones, tablets, 2-in-1s and PCs will grow from the 1.8 billion units shipped in 2014 to 2.5 billion units in 2019, with smartphones continuing to take the vast majority of market share by the end of the forecast period, according to a new report from market research firm IDC.

Smartphones, in fact, will be the only devices to see their market share grow, according to the company, climbing to 77.7 percent, or nearly 2 billion units, up from 70.7 percent and 1.3 billion units in 2014.

The bulk of that growth will be in emerging markets, according to the company.

"In 2014, 73 percent of smartphones were shipped to emerging markets, 21 percent were priced below US$100, and 12 percent had screen sizes between 5.5 and <7 inches," said Melissa Chau, senior research manager for mobile devices at IDC, in a prepared statement. "By 2019, these categories will all increase — 80 percent of smartphones will be shipped to emerging markets, 35 percent will be priced below US$100 and 32 percent 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."

Tablets and 2-in-1s will make up the next largest segment, but will see a decline in market share from 12.5 percent in 2014 to 10.7 percent in 2019. Shipments of the devices will increase from 229.7 million to 269.4 million over the course of the forecast period.

Portable PCs will see a drop in both market share, from 9.5 percent to 6.8 percent, and in shipments, from 174.28 million to 170.4 million.

Desktop PCs will continue to limp along in last place, with shipments dropping from 133.85 million in 2014 to 121 million in 2019, and market share falling 3 points over the period to just 4.3 percent.

"Smartphone 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 prepared 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 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."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].