The worldwide market for smart connected devices—PCs, tablets and smartphones—continues to grow strongly, increasing 27.1% year-over-year (YoY) in 3Q 2012 to reach a record 303.6 million shipments valued at $140.4 billion, according to the latest data from IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker.

IDC’s analysis foresees strong growth continuing through the holiday season and 4Q, and in coming years. Holiday season quarter shipments are forecast to reach record levels, gaining 19.2% on 3Q’s total and 26.5% YoY. Tablet and smartphone sales and shipments will pave the way, with expected growth of 55.8% and 39.5% YoY, respectively. In contrast, IDC forecasts PC shipments will decrease slightly YoY in 4Q.

Samsung and Apple continue to dominate the rankings of connected device manufacturers in terms of shipments. Samsung maintained its market leading position in 3Q with a 21.8% share of shipments, with Apple following with 15.1%.

Apple leads when it comes to shipment value, however. The value of the Cupertino-based company’s connected device shipments totaled $34.1 billion in 3Q, with an average selling price (ASP) of $744 across all device categories. That’s head and shoulders’ above competitors’ ASPs.

“The battle between Samsung and Apple at the top of the smart connected device space is stronger than ever,” Ryan Reith, program manager, Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers at IDC, commented. “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 in market share of 3Q shipments were Lenovo at 7%, HP at 4.6% and Sony at 3.6%. Notably, HP’s market share dropped from 7.4% in 3Q 2011 to 4.6% this year, with shipments falling 20.5% YoY.

IDC forecasts new records being set in the smart connected device market in 2013 and beyond, with shipments exceeding 2.1 billion units with a market value of $796.7 billion worldwide in 2016. PCs are going to account for a smaller percentage of the overall market over the forecast period, dropping from 39.1% in 2011 to 19.9% in 2016.

In contrast, smartphones will be the fast growing device category, according to IDC, with market share increasing from 53.1% in 2011 to 66.7% in 2016. Tablet shipments will also continue to grow rapidly, from 7.7% in 2011 to 13.4% of the market in 2016.

The shift in demand to smaller, cheaper mobile connected computing devices will drive down ASP for the category overall, from $534 in 2011 to $378 in 2016.

“Both consumers and business workers are finding the need for multiple ‘smart’ devices and we expect that trend to grow for several years, especially in more developed regions,” Bob O’Donnell, program vice president, Clients and Displays, stated. “The advent of cloud-based services is enabling people to seamlessly move from device to device, which encourages the purchase and usage of different devices for different situations.”

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