smart connected devicesGlobal shipments of smart connected devices will increase another 15.6 percent year over year in 2014 and approach 1.8 billion. Smartphone shipments will lead the pack, according to the latest forecast from IDC, “as PC and tablet plus 2-in-1 forecasts have been lowered in light of a weak first quarter.” IDC defines smart connected devices as desktop PCs, portable PCs, tablets, 2-in-1s (tablet + smartphone), and smartphones.

Smart Connected Devices
Looking further out into the future, IDC expects the number of smart connected devices (SCDs) shipped worldwide each year to grow to 2.4 billion units. Elaborating on IDC’s outlook, Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker research analyst Jitesh Ubrani stated, “Apple’s iOS-ification of Mac OS, and Microsoft’s implementation of Modern UI throughout different form factors are clear indicators that we’re living in a mobile-first world.

“The PC will be the new accessory to mobile as smartphones become the first and primary computing device for many.” With that said, IDC anticipates smartphone shipments will outpace total PC shipments by more than 6 to 1 in 2018.

With the global installed base of smartphones rapidly approaching 2 billion, “vendors are scrambling to find the next two billion users in new markets,” IDC notes. As a result, the market research company expects double-digit growth rates for low-cost Android smartphones, which is driving much of the growth in big, emerging mobile markets such as China, India and Brazil.

In the more mature smartphone markets, such as the U.S. and Western Europe, smartphone shipment growtth is slowing down into the single digits. “Low-cost Android smartphones will drive much of the SCD shipment growth in coming years,” Tom Mainelli, program vice president for IDC’s Devices and Displays group was quoted in a press release.

“The influx of inexpensive phones will drive the SCD average selling price bands downward, with the sub-$200 band increasing from 33% of total shipments in 2013 to greater than 43% in 2018, while devices that cost more than $500 are forecast to shrink from 33% of total device shipments to 21.1%.”