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Mobile versus PCs: Which smart device will reign supreme?

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While the mobile industry grows at a steady rate, the PC market is facing an unsteady future. Apple recently announced that a “post-PC” world has arrived, evidenced by the slow growth in PC sales caused by our increased reliance on mobility and thus stronger sales of mobile devices.

Shipment of smart devices (including smartphones, tablets, and PCs) is estimated to double in number to 1.84 billion units worldwide by 2016; however, a shift in platforms in the next few years is inevitable, according to a recent report by IDC.

In the chart below provided by IDC, you can see the different levels of growth for each smart device category. In 2011, more than 916 million smart devices were shipped worldwide; for the first time ever, more smartphones were shipped than PCs- 491.1 million units versus 352 million units. This is a milestone that was reached much faster than industry experts predicted, but will continue for the foreseeable future. One interesting thing to note is the tablet market- although tablets represent a small portion of total smart device shipments, they shouldn’t be ignored. After all, it is estimated that more than 106 million tablets will be shipped this year.

In the same IDC report, it is revealed that PCs will slip in market share from 35.9% in 2011 to 25.1% in 2016, as Android-based devices will grow from 29.4% share in 2011 to become a market leader in 2016 with 31.1% share. Devices running iOS will grow from 14.6% to 17.3% market share by 2016.

So what does this all mean? It’s time for businesses to start thinking about how to build their mobile presence (if they haven’t done so already). Because as more consumers adopt mobile devices, it’s crucial for businesses to have some sort of mobile presence whether through an app or mobile website.

It’s better to be prepared then waiting to see what happens. Because one thing is certain- mobile isn’t slowing down anytime soon.