Samsung is beating Apple in sales of 'smart connected devices' - IDC

Samsung is beating Apple in sales of 'smart connected devices' - IDC

Summary: Samsung has increased its lead over Apple in the market for "smart connected devices", which includes PCs, tablets and smartphones, says IDC, while smartphones will take two thirds of this device market by 2016.


The global "smart connected device" market – which includes PCs, tablets and smartphones but not cameras, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, games consoles, smart TV sets etc – grew by 27.1 percent in the third quarter of 2012 to 303.6 million units worth $140.4 billion dollars, according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker.

The US-based research company says it expects Q4 shipments to reach 362.0 million units worth $169.2 billion dollars, which will be up by 26.5 percent over the same quarter last year.

IDC said in a statement today (Monday): "Holiday season growth will be driven by tablets and smartphones, which are expected to grow 55.8 percent and 39.5 percent year-over-year respectively [corrected], while PCs are expected to decline slightly from this quarter a year ago."

Samsung was the biggest supplier in Q3 of 2012, shipping 66.1 million units with a market share of 21.8 percent. Apple was second with 45.8m units and a market share of 15.1 percent, with Lenovo in third place (21.1m units, 7.0 percent). However, Apple "led all vendors in value with a total of $34.1 billion in 3Q12 and an average selling price (ASP) of $744 across all device categories," says IDC. Samsung's ASP is $434.

Table of device sales by company

HP, in fourth place, saw shipments fall by 20.5 percent to 14m units, and its market share fell from 7.4 percent in Q3 last year to 4.6 percent in this year's third quarter. As IDC points out, HP "is virtually non-existent in the mobile space".

IDC says: "Looking forward, IDC expects the worldwide smart connected device space will continue to surge well past the strong holiday quarter and predicts shipments to surpass 2.1 billion units in 2016 with a market value of $796.7 billion worldwide."

IDC's figures show growth in all product categories, with even desktop PCs growing by 1.2 percent (in units) between 2012 and 2016. Tablets should grow by the largest amount (131.2 percent) from the lowest base, but in 2016, two thirds of smart device sales will be smartphones, with 1.4 billion units shipped in the year.

Table of shipments by type of device

IDC hasn't provided a breakdown by operating system, but I think I'm safe in predicting that the majority will be running Google Android. I'm assuming that Apple will continue to put extremely high profit margins before market share, as it did with PCs, and end up losing the bulk of the market. (Apple could even see sales tumble, just as sales of Macs fell following the launch of Windows 95.)

It looks as though IDC is making the same assumption, because it says: "The shift in demand from the more expensive PC category to more reasonably priced smartphones and tablets will drive the collective market ASP from $534 in 2011 to $378 in 2016."

Today, of course, PCs are not necessarily more expensive. Mainstream Windows laptops are often cheaper than Apple iPhones and iPads, as well as high-end Samsung phones (such as the Galaxy S III) and tablets. However, mass-market Android phone prices are trending towards $100 or less.

It's not clear whether IDC's device tracking has much value. The trends are already obvious, and have been for some years. The interesting information is whether – and by how much – device sales are complementary and how many are replacements. The most interesting prediction would be about device replacement rates in different categories.

For example, we know you can push the lifespan of a desktop PC further nowadays, especially with Microsoft making Windows leaner and more efficient. I therefore expect fewer companies are now replacing all their Windows PCs every 3 years, as they used to. However, it makes a big difference whether they are replacing them after, say, 5 years, or never.

Also, when will the lifespan of tablets and smartphones extend beyond the current 1-2 years? At some point, smartphone sales will start to fall, because everybody who can afford one will already have one, and the vast majority of them won't need replacing. Either way, the smartphone market won't be able to grow for more than 30 years, like the PC market, because the sales volumes are just too big.

Finally, if roughly a third of the world's adult population is going to buy at least one connected device every year, then many billions are going to end up being (at best) recycled or in landfill. This is going to look like an increasingly dumb idea in a world of rapidly diminishing resources.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Apple, Hardware, Samsung

Jack Schofield

About Jack Schofield

Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first website and, in 2001, its first real blog. When the printed section was dropped after 25 years and a couple of reincarnations, he felt it was a time for a change....

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  • So now .... it is everything vs the iPhone/iPad??

    You can't count iOS devices (like iPods) as iOS devices, but it is OK to count everything AND the kitchen sink to claim better numbers than Apple ???

    This is just getting ridiculous.
    • Where does it say?

      They didn't count iPods? Must have missed it because I've just re-read the article and can't find that reference.
      • First sentence

        "The global "smart connected device" market – which includes PCs, tablets and smartphones but not cameras, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, games consoles, smart TV sets etc – grew by 27.1 percent in the third quarter of 2012 to 303.6 million units worth $140.4 billion dollars, according to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker."

        The relevant part is PCs, tablets, and smartphones. I too wonder about the logic of not counting iPod touches as they are web-capable devices just as any Wifi tablet is.
        • This is exactly why these statistics are bogus

          " I too wonder about the logic of not counting iPod touches "

          Why not include game consoles? My game console has a browser in it. I can install apps on it.

          Why not include feature phones? My last feature phone had a web browser in it. I could install apps on it.

          Why don't they include these? Simple, then they couldn't release mind blowing statistics like: "grew by 27.1 percent in the third quarter of 2012"

          That sounds so much more amazing than "grew by 1 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2012."

          This isn't an anti-Apple conspiracy, this is just click bait statistics at its finest.
          • @toddbottom3 is a Fool

            Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

            You spew ignorance on a subject you know nothing about.

            You think IDC is in the business of sensationalism? Click Bait???

            They have been doing tech market analysis since 1964. They just might know a little more about the logic of comparing iPod sales to PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. I think a 12 year old can understand that logic. Only a fool could not.

            You are a fool and should take Abe Lincoln advice and keep your stupid ass thoughts to yourself.

            BTW, this is IDC's description of the report.

            Personal computers (notebooks and desktops), smartphones, and tablets. This integrated deliverable with data from three highly sought-out consumer trackers provides a holistic view of the changing dynamics across all four product categories.
          • iPod Touch is a "smart connected device" or it'd be excluded too!

            How you fools can be so ignorant has to not understand this is beyond me. I doubt if you can even figure out how to count or even estimate numbers on your fingers and toes. All you have to do is check the numbers on Apple's own quarterly reports to figure that out!

            Pretty obvious and a no brainer to surmise iPod Touches as just over half of 5.3 Million iPods sold in Apple's Fiscal 4th Quarterly report of 2012 was included in their count.... you fool! the math and quit making such an fool of yourself in public! lol..... that's no more than 2.7 Million additional devices.... lol!!!
    • iOS

      Yes, you can't any iOS device count as smartphone....... in era of multi user API, photo sphere, free install, democracy, ..., iOS has still just icons and fascism ...... It's just a featurephone.... ;-)
  • BORG

    Samsung is the Borg and they are mad at Apple and will rip Apple out of every market they are in you watch! They can out produce, out manufacture, out every single thing Apple- better screens better processors, better connections, and that was when they were drunk! lolol "the Apple experience" is not so good anymore" Jelly Bean is just an angle Samsung has- they don't give a shit except maximizing product and Apple doesn't even have a ghost's chance. yes Apple makes great hardware yes yes! but Samsung will out make all that easily and most ppl already know it is true.
    • Push away from the punch bowl son

      I am sure Apple is very scared about your prediction but if we return to reality for a bit. Samsung is a hardware manufacture along with a dozen others and their fate rests in how good Android is moving forward. I remember people singing similar nonsense about Nokia years back and look at them now. Apple is one of the best manufactures out there and they own the competing OS and have a very loyal following, they are not going any where soon and there is little Samsung can do to change that. I would even say that Samsung stands a better changes of losing out then Apple but I really don't see either going away any time soon.
  • Everyone say good is really good

    Samsung and apple quality which is better, we are not sure. But don't say any more. Sales of samsung is the biggest affirmation for samsung.
  • Leaner and more efficient?

    >> especially with Microsoft making Windows leaner and more efficient

    So Windows 8 or even Windows 7 is "leaner and more efficient" than XP? Maybe on the planet where you live, Jack. I doubt many others would share such an opinion.

    Behold how Windows becomes "leaner" over the years. These are the default settings that Oracle VirtualBox gives when you install various versions of Windows:

    XP = 192 Meg RAM, 10 Gig Hard Drive
    Vista 32-bit = 512 Meg RAM, 25 Gig Hard Drive
    Windows 7 32-bit = 512 Meg RAM, 25 Gig Hard Drive
    Windows 7 64-bit = 512 Meg RAM, 25 Gig Hard Drive
    Windows 8 32-bit = 1024 Meg RAM, 25 Gig Hard Drive
    Windows 8 64-bit = 1536 Meg RAM, 25 Gig Hard Drive

    So, Vista was a resource piggie compared to XP, but did anyone *not* know that?

    7 did a commendable job of keeping roughly to the same requirements as Vista. Some say it even slimmed down a little. But then that's hardly an achievement when Vista was such a pig in the first place, is it?

    But 8 seems to be creeping up again: double the RAM for the 32-bit version and triple for the 64-bit. To be honest though, I think that's maybe a case of 7's requirements being somewhat underestimated by VirtualBox. I think 1 Gig of RAM is probably more realistic there.

    Whatever, I don't see how any of this can be sensibly be portrayed as "Microsoft making Windows leaner and more efficient". At best - and I mean at absolute best - they're treading water in that regard. But as hardware specs go ever upwards, that gives the illusion of Windows running more efficiently but it's just that: an illusion. A bit like thinking you're a better skier because you just found a steeper hill.
    • I didn't mention XP....

      > 7 did a commendable job of keeping roughly to the same requirements as Vista.
      > Some say it even slimmed down a little.

      So you don't, in fact, need more PC resources to run Windows 7 than Vista, and you don't, in fact, need more PC resources to run Windows 8 than Windows 7.

      Otherwise you ought to try doing some proper research once in a while. It would be less embarrassing.
      Jack Schofield
      • But...

        So Windows is not slimming down as you stated but staying the same which many consider bloated to begin with.

        If you also look at the pad market Apple iOS is a little over 1 GB, While Windows RT is 13 GB. Bloatware seems to be still strong at MS.
        • Comparing Computer to Gadget

          iOS (tablet and mobile) and Windows (desktop and laptop) are two very different markets.

          You may be confused by MS about to release the Surface Pro which puts the power of a desktop in the same package as a tablet.

          Because they look similar does not mean they are the same.
      • You didn't exclude XP either...

        ... nor did you give any time period for your assertions. And as XP is still used on a good percentage of the world's PCs, I'd say its figures are still relevant.

        As for "proper research", well, at least I did *some*. Where's yours?
    • You are looking at the default values for VIRTUAL installs of windows?!?!?!

      Don't you think that is a little misrepresentitive of the real facts?

      Here are the actual values from Microsofts website. Take from them what you will.

      Windows 8
      RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
      Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)

      Windows 7
      1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
      16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)

      Windows Vista
      1 GB of system memory
      40-GB hard disk that has 15 GB of free hard disk space (the 15GB of free space provides room for temporary file storage during the install or upgrade.)

      Windows XP
      At least 64 megabytes (MB) of RAM (128 MB is recommended)
      At least 1.5 gigabytes (GB) of available space on the hard disk
      • You're so right!

        I don't know what came over me. How could I forget that the manufacturer's own figures are always the one source of truth, wisdom and above all, objectivity? And that goes double when it's Microsoft.

        After that revelation, I've also come to realise that climate change is a myth, Obama's a Muslim and Santa Claus is for real.

        And don't let anyone tell you different!
        • Of course the manufacturer specifications are a conspiracy

          because they disagree with your painstaking research of installing windows on a virtual machine.

          Thanks for clearing that up.
          • Now you're getting it!

            ... or do you think that low tar cigarettes really *were* safer?
          • One of the better conspiracies out there...

            Off topic, but I cannot resist: Lower Tar and Nicotine cigarettes are a giant scam that the country fell for! They cut the nicotine in half to please the Gov't and the anti-smoking crusaders, and now smokers need to puff twice as many cigs to get their fix! The tobacco pushers are making a fortune!

            I say make them coffin nails 20X more nicotine! Cut the pusher's revenue to 1/20, and the tar intake of the addicts will also be 1/20th. One puff, and the cravings are gone. Two puffs and your hands start shaking. Three puffs and you need an ambulance! Four puffs and we won't have to worry about you burdening the public with your medical bills...

            I know this was a horrible thing to say, but there is something to the logic.