Smart Connected Device Market Grew by 11 Per Cent in 2013

Apple continues to dominate the UK tablet market, helped by the launch of the iPad Mini
Apple continues to dominate the UK tablet market, helped by the launch of the iPad Mini

The smart connected device (SCD) market continued to post strong growth in 2013, with combined shipments of PCs, tablets, and smartphones reaching over 16m units in the UK in Q4 2013 and over 56m units for the whole of 2013, an 11.1 per cent increase on 2012’s total.

The figures come from International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker. While growth is slowing, IDC says that SCDs will continue to be one of the fastest-growing markets in the IT industry in 2014, with tablets expected to continue driving overall consumer electronics spending.

Tablets continued to drive the SCD market from a growth perspective, with shipments growing by 50 per cent in 2013. Demand for tablets continued unabated during the holiday season with over 5m units sold in Q4, leading to a volume of 12.6m units for the year. Growth in 2014, while slower, will be driven by continued product expansion and accelerated adoption in the business space.

The shift among consumer buyers towards tablets saw PC shipments shrink by 5.5 per cent in Q4, 2013, despite the commercial sector growing by 3.4 per cent. IDC forecasts that 2014 will see a softer contraction in the consumer space and sustained business shipments, driven by ongoing refreshes and overall client infrastructure investment.

Smartphones continue to be the largest segment from a volume perspective, representing 60 per cent of the total SCD space and a volume of 9m units in Q4, 2013, but growing more modestly at 8.5 per cent for the year. Volumes are expected to be sustained in 2014, supported by product innovation, competition, and fast replacement cycles.

“The accelerated adoption of tablets is having a significant impact on the way consumers and businesses use and consider their computing devices,” said Chrystelle Labesque, research manager at IDC EMEA Personal Computing. “The frontiers between private and professional are blurring, and new form factors are supporting increasing versatility, opening new usage scenarios and new growth opportunities for the industry.”

Apple continued to dominate the UK tablet market, with 4.7m units shipped in 2013, followed by Samsung and Amazon with 2m and 1.6m units respectively. Asus maintained fourth position with its own product line and the Nexus, while the market saw fast growth from several players such as Archos, with the success of the Hudl produced for Tesco in Q4, 2013, as well as Acer, Lenovo, and HP. Samsung continued to lead the smartphone market, followed by Apple and Sony, with the top three covering almost 75 per cent of the market in 2013.