Worldwide shipments of all smart connected devices grew by 29.1 percent year-over-year in 2012 -- crossing 1 billion units shipped with a value of $576.9 billion, according to the latest market study by International Data Corporation (IDC).
The market expansion was largely driven by 78.4 percent year-over-year growth in media tablet shipments -- which surpassed 128 million in 2012.
Looking specifically at the results for the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12), combined shipments of desktop PCs, notebook PCs, media tablets, and smartphones was nearly 378 million and revenues were more than $168 billion.
In terms of market share, Apple significantly closed the gap with market leader Samsung in the quarter, as the combination of Apple's iPhone 5 and iPad Mini brought Apple up to 20.3 percent unit shipment share versus 21.2 percent for Samsung.
On a revenue basis for the fourth quarter, Apple continued to dominate with 30.7 percent share versus 20.4 percent share for Samsung.
Going forward, IDC expects that media tablet shipments will surpass desktop PCs in 2013 and portable PCs in 2014. In 2013, worldwide desktop PC shipments are expected to drop by 4.3 percent and portable PCs to maintain a flat growth of 0.9 percent.
The media tablet market, on the other hand, is expected to reach a new high of 190 million shipment units with year-on-year growth of 48.7 percent, while the smartphone market is expected to grow 27.2 percent to 918.5 million units.
From a regional perspective, the smart connected device volume in emerging markets grew by 41.3 percent in 2012 with the media tablet volume growing by 111.3 percent and smartphone volume by 69.7 percent year over- year.
Mature markets, on the other hand, grew by 15.6 percent and saw a huge plunge in the PC market in the year 2012. By the end of year 2017, IDC predicts that the media tablet and smartphone markets will have a huge growth potential in the emerging markets.
During this time, media tablet unit shipments are expected to increase by a factor of 3 with a shipment value of $125 billion dollars while smartphone unit shipments are expected to double and reach a shipment value of $462 billion dollars.
Portable PCs, on the other hand will show a moderate single-digit growth while desktop PCs are expected to consistently decline year-over-year with almost no growth in 2017.
Looking forward, IDC predicts the worldwide smart connected device space will continue to surge with shipments surpassing 2.2 billion units and revenues reaching $814.3 billion in 2017.