Smart Device Shipments Broke Records In Q3 2012, Reaching 303.6 Million Devices; Expected To Grow To 362 Million In Holiday Quarter

According to IDC’s latest report on smart device shipments, we’re in for a record-breaking holiday season. The analyst firm is expecting device shipments to grow 19.2% over third quarter levels, and 26.5% year-over-year to reach 362 million shipments in the fourth quarter of 2012 with a total market value of $169.2 billion dollars.  In Q3, worldwide smart device shipments grew 17.1% year-over-year, also setting a record, with 303.6 million shipments valued at $140.4 billion dollars.

It’s always a point of contention when reports come out claiming one vendor or another has the most “market share,” since methodologies vary. Some reports look at shipments, others at sales. IDC did both this time, saying that Samsung led Q3 with 21.8% market share based on shipments, while Apple ranked second in shipments, but topped vendors in terms of value. Apple had a total of $34.1 billion and an average selling price of $744 in Q3 across all device categories. (Meaning, PCs, tablets and smartphones – the collective group which IDC refers to as “smart devices.”)

Adds Ryan Reith, program manager, Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers at IDC. “Both vendors compete at the top of the tablet and smartphone markets. However, the difference in their collective ASPs is a telling sign of different market approaches. The fact that Apple’s ASP is $310 higher than Samsung’s with just over 20 million fewer shipments in the quarter speaks volumes about the premium product line that Apple sells.”

Following Samsung and Apple (15.1%) in shipments were Lenovo (7.0%), HP (4.6%), and Sony (3.6%). All had grown their share over the past year, expect for HP which IDC says is “virtually non-existent in the mobile space.” Its share dropped from 7.4% in 3Q11 to 4.6% in 3Q12 with shipments declining -20.5% during that time.

IDC says that smart device shipments are on track to top 2.1 billion units in 2016, with a market value of  $796.7 billion worldwide. It also forecasts a continual decline in PC market share, dropping from 39.1% of the smart connected device market in 2011 to 19.9% by 2016. Smartphones and tablets will grow in response, with the former going from 53.1% in 2011 to 66.7% in 2016 and tablets growing from 7.7% in 2011 to 13.4% in 2016, too. As more users adopt multiple devices, and demand for PCs decline, the average selling price across the “smart device” market will also decline, going from $534 in 2011 to $378 in 2016.