Whilst the number of PC's shipped worldwide continues to decline, those of smartphones have never been better. According to Canalys, shipments of smartphones reached almost 488 million in 2011.
In comparison, the number of PC's totalled 414.6 million units. This equates to an increase of 62.7 per cent of smartphone shipments, compared to just a 14.8 per cent increase for PC's. Included in the PC shipment total were Tablets, netbooks, notebooks and desktops, which make the smartphone figures that much more impressive.
Canalys Vice President and principal analyst, Chris Jones, said: “2011 saw a fall in demand for netbooks, and slowing demand for notebooks and desktops as a direct result of rising interest in pads. But pads have had a negligible impact on smartphone volumes and markets across the globe have seen persistent and substantial growth through 2011.”
“Smartphone shipments overtaking those of PC's should be seen as a significant milestone. In the space of a few years, smartphones have grown from being a niche product segment at the high end of the mobile phone market to become a truly mass market proposition.”
Of course, one of the major factors in the success of smartphone sales is the wider availability of smartphones at lower price points, particularly budget Android devices, available on both Prepay and Contract options.
Android devices accounted for 52 per cent of global shipments during the last quarter in 2011; iOS was at 23 per cent, with Symbian at 12 per cent. Overall in 2011 Android devices accounted for 49 per cent of all devices shipped worldwide, with iOS in second place at 19 per cent. Symbian was in third place at 16 per cent.
Analysts are cautious about smartphone sales increasing in 2012; the general consensus seems to be that manufacturers will move away from budget models, and focus on more profitable high end devices.