Smartphone Shipments Overtake PCs, Says Report

In a development that is truly notable yet shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, more smartphones (487.7 million) than PCs (414.6 million) shipped globally for the first time, according to a report by Canalys.

Indeed, smartphones gained lots of ground, enjoying 62.7% annual growth from 2010 to 2011. The PC market is also growing, although not as quickly; it enjoyed a more modest 14.8% growth in the same time period.

We know what you’re thinking: How do tablets factor into this? As it turns out, quite a bit. According to Canalys’ numbers, growth in the PC market is driven primarily by “pads”, which accounted for 15% of all PC sales and saw a ridiculous 274.2% growth year-over-year. Notebooks grew 7.3% during the same time period. The bad news for the PC market is that desktops gained a meager 2.3% annually and actually lost 3.6% market share in Q4 2011, and netbooks (shocker!) dropped 32.4%.

In the press release, Chris Jones, Canalys VP and Principal Analyst said, “In 2011 we 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 negligible impact on smart phone volumes and markets across the globe have seen persistent and substantial growth through 2011.”`

It’s worth noting that for all the growth in 2011, Canalys believes that the smartphone market’s growth will abate this year. The firm sees vendors taking time to figure out how to squeeze he most profit from the market they all just saturated.