According to the latest data from IDC, global shipments of smart connected devices exceeded a billion units in 2012, an increase of 29.1% from the previous year and representing a value of $576.9 billion. Although plenty of smartphones and other "smart" electronics were moved last year, the researcher notes that the market's growth was largely thanks to a 78.4% on-year boost in tablet shipments, which topped 128 million units.
That's a pretty significant slice of the computing pie if you exclude smartphones from the billion devices and IDC expects interest in slates to continue for the foreseeable future. Tablets are due to outship desktops in 2013 and notebooks in 2014, while both of those PC segments will either lose ground or see relatively flat growth. The desktop market is expected to shrink consistently through 2017, when growth is expected to be -1%.
All told, IDC forecasts that companies will shift 190 million tablets worldwide this year, which would mark an annual growth of 48.7%, while smartphones shipments are expected to swell by 27.2% to 918.5 million units. Looking further ahead, the researcher says smart connected devices will reach shipments of 2.2 billion units and revenues of $814.3 billion in 2017, with tablet and smartphone growth tapering to 9.8% and 8.5%.
The analyst firm also touched on the latest market share rankings of Apple and Samsung. The iDevice maker is said to have "significantly closed the gap" with Samsung in the last quarter of 2012 after moving plenty of iPhone 5s and iPad Minis, which pushed Apple's unit shipment share up to 20.3% -- just behind Samsung's 21.2% cut. However, Apple represented a larger slice of the quarter's revenue at 30.7% versus 20.4%.