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Worldwide Phablet Shipments to Surpass Portable PCs in 2014

Worldwide Phablet Shipments to Surpass Portable PCs in 2014 

A new forecast from IDC  has predicted that worldwide phablet shipments, described as smart-phones with screen sizes from 5.5 to less than 7 inches will reach 175 million units worldwide in 2014, passing the portable PCs expected to ship during the same period some 170 million. Further to this is the forecast for next year, when IDC predict that total phablet volumes will top 318 million units, surpassing the 233 million tablets forecast to ship in 2015. Although we at European reseller are not exactly sure if prior to the new description some of the smaller tablets are now phablets .

While resellers and dealers will need to learn a new vocabulary, phablets are a relatively new category of device, first picking up volume in 2012, the pressure that the category has placed on the tablet market has already been clearly observed as the growth of smaller, 7 inch tablets has begun to slow. IDC expects more consumers to shift back toward larger-sized tablets with their next purchase. However, that trend hasn't made up for the decreased shipments of smaller sizes, which has resulted in lower overall expectations for the tablet market in 2014 and beyond.

"With Apple expected to join the space in the coming weeks, we anticipate even more attention on phablets as larger screen smart-phones become the new norm," said Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. IDC expects phablets to grow from 14.0% of the worldwide smartphone market in 2014 to 32.2% in 2018.

As the Smart Connected Device market matures, and emerging markets drive more of the growth, the percentage of the market made up of phablets plus regular smart-phones is expected to increase. In 2014 IDC expects smart-phones to represent about 70% of the total market. By 2018 that will grow to 75.6%. While consumers in places like the United States and Western Europe are likely to own a combination of PCs, tablets, and smart-phones, in many places the smartphone — regardless of size — will be the one connected device of choice. Dropping average selling prices (ASPs) for phablets and smart-phones will help drive this trend. In 2013, a phablet cost an average of US$568 versus a regular smart-phone at US$320, while IDC forecasts that in 2014, those prices will drop to US$397 and US$291, respectively.

"Clearly, mobile computing is a space where consumers are still trying to figure out what mix of devices and screen sizes will suit them best," said Tom Mainelli, Program Vice President with IDC's Devices and Displays. "What works well today could very well shift tomorrow as phones gain larger screens, tablets become more powerful replacements for PCs, and even smart watch screens join the fray."

 Worldwide Smart Connected Device Forecast Shipments, Market Share, Growth, and 5-Year CAGR (units in millions) 

Category

2014* Shipment Volumes

2014* Market Share

2014* YoY Growth

2018* Shipment Volumes

2018* Market Share

2018* YoY Growth

5-Year CAGR

Regular Smart-phone

1,077.4

60.2%

12.8%

1,246.2

51.2%

3.2%

5.5%

Phablet

174.9

9.8%

209.6%

592.9

24.4%

16.6%

60.0%

Tablet + 2-in-1

233.1

13.0%

6.5%

303.5

12.5%

4.7%

6.8%

Portable PC

170.0

9.5%

-4.7%

170.0

7.0%

0.8%

-1.0%

Desktop PC

133.5

7.5%

-2.3%

121.1

5.0%

-1.6%

-2.4%

Total

1,789.0

100.0%

15.8%

2,433.7

100.0%

5.9%

9.5%




Source:  IDC Worldwide Smart Connected Device Tracker, September 3, 2014.