Canalys: Smartphone shipments surpassed PCs in 2011

Canalys: Smartphone shipments surpassed PCs in 2011

Summary: However, the smartphone's success over computers is more complex than just sales figures.


Smartphones are where the money is now as a new report from analyst house Canalys found that the advanced mobile phones jumped over PCs in 2011.

According to the report, approximately 488 million smartphones shipped worldwide in 2011, compared to 415 million client PCs. Of course, the key word there is "shipped," so that doesn't necessarily mean sold. Nevertheless, it's still quite a feat.

However, the smartphone's success over computers is more complex than just sales figures.

Canalys vice president and principal analyst Chris Jones explained in the report that 2011 saw a higher demand for netbooks rather than desktops or notebooks, but also a greater interest in tablets (or "pads"), thus creating more competition for client PCs:

But pads have had negligible impact on smart phone volumes and markets across the globe have seen persistent and substantial growth through 2011. Smart phone shipments overtaking those of client PCs should be seen as a significant milestone. In the space of a few years, smart phones have grown from being a niche product segment at the high-end of the mobile phone market to becoming a truly mass-market proposition.

The greater availability of smart phones at lower price points has helped tremendously, but there has been a driving trend of increasing consumer appetite for Internet browsing, content consumption and engaging with apps and services on mobile devices.

This isn't terribly surprising considering that another survey recently published by Nielsen found that approximately 60 percent of all mobile phones now sold are smartphones.

Nevertheless, analysts warned that the surge for smartphones will slow down considerably this year as "vendors exercise greater cost control and discipline, and put more focus on profitability."

Canalys also recently reported that Apple surpassed Hewlett-Packard to be named as the top dog in the global client PC market during the fourth quarter of 2011.


Topics: Mobility, Enterprise Software, Hardware

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  • RE: Canalys: Smartphone shipments surpassed PCs in 2011

    Dumb and unrelated comparison. That's like comparing sales of Lamborghini and Kias. Are you guys hurting for stories?
    • I know. This Canalys is making up comparisons

      because they're a simple channel analyzer, not a technology analyzer, so I think they're a bit out of their leauge at times.

      Let see, many households need 1 or 2 computers to cover the entire family , yet everyone gets a cell phone of their own, as that really isn't something you can share between household members.

      I bet ZDNet would be shocked to discover that tire shipments surpassed cell phone shipments in 2011!
      William Farrel
      • I currently have 11 PCs actively being used at home

        and 4 smartphones + 1 tablet.

        (3) new PCs bought last year
        (1) tablet bought last year
        and (2) Samsung Galaxy Nexus bought in Jan 2012.

        I'm getting a new laptop PC in February before the 21st.

        @William Farrel & rocampo71


        Bottom line directed at ZDNet's article: So? Was there ever a race to supremacy between PCs & mobile devices? [b]I couldn't care less since I use them all.[/b]

        I do care however about Internet bandwidth:

        Wondering why some other countries have such superior Internet than here in North America?
        For example: Google [b]1GBps ISP Hong Kong[/b]
        1000 Mbps (or 1Gbps) real-broadband for $26 / month? Full Duplex no less, 1Gbps down + 1Gbps up with no data cap...

        It puts things into perspective doesn't it? And we think we're not 3rd world countries (technologically)...

        Why not investigate the situation and write some interesting articles about that?

        Everything is relative.
        ~ Albert Einstein

        Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
        ~ Albert Einstein

        Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.
        ~ Albert Einstein
  • RE: Canalys: Smartphone shipments surpassed PCs in 2011

    Tablets and phones may get some of the laptop market but in the long run many still prefer laptops which in many ways are easier to type and use as well as are more powerful than phones and tablets.
    Access your computer from your phone using 2X apps. Check out

    Download the free demo of 2x XG server that many are using instead of the more expensive Citrix.