The Global Tablet Market Grows 78% in 2012
Just in time for this event, IDC published a note last week that shows how well the mobile industry is currently doing. In 2012, global Smartphone shipments grew 46 percent to 722 million units, i.e. smartphone shipments more than tripled since 2009, when 174 million units were shipped. The tablet market too, did very well in the past year. Total shipments reached 128 million units, a 78 percent increase over 2011. The average selling price of tablets declined 15 percent to $461, mainly due to the success of lower-priced 7-inch tablets.
The PC industry continued to struggle in 2012. Shipments of laptop and desktop PCs declined 3 and 4 percent, respectively, as consumers are switching to mobile connected devices. Adding to the industry’s problems is the fact that update cycles are much longer for PCs than they are for smartphones. A new PC can probably serve an average user 5 years or longer, while smartphone vendors profit from 2-year update cycles and carrier subsidies. It is still too early to say if the tablet market can keep up the pace once it reaches a certain level of saturation, but it seems reasonable to assume that tablets carry a longer life cycle than smartphones typically do.
This chart shows global shipments of smart connected devices in 2011 and 2012. Tablet and smartphone shipments continued to grow in 2012, while the PC market contracted.