John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Samsung and Apple Slugging It Out in the Smart Connected Devices Market

Godzilla_mechagodzillaApple sold a ton of smartphones, tablets, and PCs last year, but not enough to retain its title as the world’s leading vendor of smart connected devices. In 2012, the company ceded that title to archrival Samsung.

In a research note issued this week, IDC released its metrics for the 2012 “smart connected devices” market, which it defines as desktop and portable PCs, tablets and smartphones. And they show that Samsung’s shipments of those devices exceeded Apple’s, thanks to an 86 percent increase in year-over-year growth. (Caveat: Samsung reports device shipments; Apple reports device sales. There’s a big difference.)

Samsung shipped 250 million “smart connected devices” in 2012, up from 114 million in the year prior, to claim a 20.8 percent share of the market. Meanwhile, Apple shipped 218.7 million devices, up from 151.5 million in 2011, to capture an 18 percent share.

The engine of Samsung’s growth? Spiking smartphone shipments, according to IDC. Samsung shipped more than anyone in 2012. And while Apple led the market in tablet shipments, sales weren’t high enough to match and surpass the gains Samsung charted.

Same old story, right? The two juggernauts slugging it out in a battle for “smart connected devices” profits. Absolutely. But what’s interesting is just how vast Samsung’s and Apple’s lead in this market is. Remember, IDC defines “connected devices” as desktop and portable PCs, tablets and smartphones. And there are other big players in that space. Companies like Hewlett-Packard that once owned the personal computer market. But the market share of these incumbents is far surpassed by that of Samsung and Apple.

Lenovo, for example, ranked third after Apple, but with a market share of just 6.5 percent. Hewlett-Packard ranked fourth with 4.8 percent, down 8.5 percent year over year. And Dell brought up the rear, placing fifth with a 3.2 percent share. Piddling showings, all three, and evidence of a common strategic blunder: A long bet on traditional PCs, when rivals like Apple and Samsung were shifting their product emphasis to smartphones and tablets.

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