The Post-Plus Era Is Here: Mobile Devices Outpace PC Growth

The rise of tablets and smartphones is undeniable, but that doesn’t necessarily mean PCs are falling by the wayside.

According to the latest data from IDC, shipments for ‘smart-connected’ devices —traditional PCs, notebooks, smartphones and tablets — grew to more than 916 million units (with revenues surpassing $489 billion) in 2011. Shipments are set to rise to 1.1 billion by the end of 2012.

Chart: Worldwide Smart Connected Device Shipments, 2010-2016 (Unit Millions)

Description: This data comes from IDC’s WW Quarterly PC Tracker, WW Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, and WW Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker.

Author: IDCcharts powered by iCharts

If you take a closer look at the data, you’ll notice that mobile devices, smartphones and tablets are set to outpace PC growth remarkably. That means more people will be computing from mobile devices than from PCs. Already, we’re seeing debates kick off over whether tablets can replace notebooks and desktops.

But that doesn’t mean the traditional PC is dead. IDC is calling this shift the PC-Plus era, which means users are connecting to the Internet through other devices in addition to the traditional PC.

Predictions of the PC’s demise may be greatly exaggerated. But we could see PCs become a tool for a more specific subset of users as opposed to being the default device in homes and businesses.