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Tablets Will Continue to Drive Demand for Smart Connected Devices in 2014 in Europe, Says IDC

February 2014 by IDC

The smart connected device (SCD) market continued to post strong growth in 4Q13, with combined shipments of PCs, tablets, and smartphones reaching nearly 70 million units in the fourth quarter and totaling nearly 230 million units for the year 2013 and 9.7% growth compared with 2012, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). Despite a slowdown in growth as the market reaches significant volumes, SCDs continue to be one of the fastest-growing markets in the IT industry, and tablets continued to drive overall consumer electronics spending during the holiday season. According to latest forecasts released by IDC, the SCD market will grow 5.1% in 2014, led by continued double-digit growth expected for tablets.

Tablets, including 2-in-1, will continue to drive the SCD market from a growth perspective in 2014, with shipments expected to grow 17.6% this year. Demand for tablets continued unabated during the holiday season and led to a total volume of over 45 million units sold in Western Europe for the year 2013 and growth of 51.4% compared with 2012. Growth will naturally slow down as volumes have now reached high levels, but is set to remain in double digits over the next three years, supported by continued product expansion while accelerated adoption in the business space will give the market a further uplift from 2H14 and onward.

Directly affected by the form factor transition and budget shift in the consumer space, the PC market contracted 2.4% in 4Q13, while the commercial segment grew 3.5%, fueled by renewals in the enterprise space. 2014 will benefit from 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 55% of the total smart connected device space and a volume of over 38 million units in 4Q13, but growing more modestly at 1.1% in 4Q and 10.4% for the year. Growth is expected to remain sustained in 2014 at 4.2%, 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. 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," said Chrystelle Labesque, research manager, IDC EMEA Personal Computing.

While Samsung and Apple continue to lead the overall device market due to the volume of smartphones, leadership and the competitive environment in the three product categories continue to be fragmented:

Apple maintained strong leadership in the tablet market with a volume of nearly 15 million units shipped in Western Europe in 2013, followed by Samsung at 10.2 million units. Asus was third with its own product line and the Nexus, while the market saw fast growth from several players, including Lenovo, which took fifth position in the final quarter of the year and sixth on an annual basis.

On the PC side, HP maintained solid leadership in the European PC market, while Lenovo continued to be the fastest and only growing player in 2013 and reinforced its second position, followed by Acer, Dell, and Apple in the top 5 ranking on an annual basis.

Samsung continued to lead the Western European smartphone market, followed by Apple and Sony, with the top 3 covering more than 70% of the market in 2013.

Source: IDC EMEA Smart Connected Devices, Final Results, 4Q13, February 10, 2014

*Smart connected devices = desktop PCs, portable PCs, tablets, and smartphones.

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