Samsung got past Apple to grab number one position in 2012 with just over 20% share across the four device categories, according to research firm IDC. Samsung shipped 250.0 million PCs, tablets, and smartphones in the past year, up 119.3% from the previous year, driven largely in part by its surge in the smartphone space.
While Samsung managed to ship more smartphones and portable PCs than Apple in 2012, Apple led all in tablet shipments, was eighth in portable PC shipments, and fifth overall in desktop PC shipments.
IDC said that smartphones and tablets are driving mobility growth. The report said that vendors shipped 367.7 million desktop PCs, portable PCs, tablets, and smartphones – a collective view IDC refers to as "Smart Connected Devices" – in the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12), up 28.3% from the prior year. As desktop PCs and portable PCs declined (-4.1% and-3.4%, respectively), the overall smart connected device space continued to surge to just over 1.2 billion shipments cumulatively in 2012. Tablet shipments experienced the largest year-over-year growth in 2012, up 78.4% over 2011, while smartphones grew 46.1% but accounted for 60.1% of all smart connected devices shipped throughout the year.
"Smartphones and tablets are growing at a pace that PCs can't realistically keep up with because of device prices and to some extent disposability," explained Ryan Reith, program manager, Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers at IDC. "The average selling price (ASP) for a tablet declined 15.0% in 2012 to $461, and we expect that trend to continue in 2013. However, smartphone APSs are still lower at $408. We expect smartphones to continue to carry a shorter life cycle than PCs for the years to come based on price, use case, and overall device size."
Rounding out the top 5 smart connected device vendors in 2012 was Lenovo at number 3 with 6.5% share. Lenovo's strong point is still in portable PCs where it shipped just over 30 million units in 2012. However, smartphones are a growing space for the Chinese vendor as shipments grew from 3.7 million in 2011 to 23.7 million in 2012. In the fourth position was HP with 4.8% share, however shipments of smart connected devices were down 8.5% year over year primarily for the lack of smartphone and tablet offerings. And in the fifth position was Dell with 3.2% share, down 12.9% from 2011 as it also struggles with a lack of presence in the smartphone and tablet markets.
"The fourth quarter market share numbers showed a fairly dramatic resurgence for Apple," said Bob O'Donnell, program vice president, Clients and Displays. "After falling well behind Samsung early in 2012, Apple came roaring back in final quarter of the year thanks to its latest hits – the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini – and reduced the market share gap to less than a single percentage point. The question moving forward will be whether or not Apple can maintain its hit parade against the juggernaut of Samsung."
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