The results are somewhat unsurprising given Apple's position as a high-margin producer in the global marketplace, but the study went on to reveal interesting trends in the global computing landscape, noting that the overall "smart connected device market" gained 27.1 percent year-over-year. IDC found that the "collective view of PCs, tablets, and smartphones" reached a record 303.6 million shipments worth around $140.4 billion dollars for the three month period ending in September.
Shipments of connected devices are expected to hit 362 million units worth $169.2 billion in the fourth quarter thanks to a seasonal holiday bump led by tablets and smartphones, which are expected to grow 55.8 percent and 39.5 percent year-to-year, respectively.
On a per vendor basis, Samsung grew an impressive 97.5 percent from 2011 to lead the market with 21.8 percent of all shipments, while Apple trailed with 15 percent. The Cupertino, Calif., company did, however, see a $744 average selling price across all device categories to lead the market with $34.1 billion in quarter three. By contrast, Samsung managed a $434 ASP across its product lines.
"The battle between Samsung and Apple at the top of the smart connected device space is stronger than ever," said Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers Program Manager Ryan Reith.. "Both vendors compete at the top of the tablet and smartphone markets. However, the difference in their collective ASPs is a telling sign of different market approaches. The fact that Apple's ASP is $310 higher than Samsung's with just over 20 million fewer shipments in the quarter speaks volumes about the premium product line that Apple sells."
The trend toward smaller devices is quickly eating into PC shipments as evidenced by HP, which was the only company out of the top five to see negative growth as its marketshare dropped to 4.6 percent. As HP has almost no mobile connected devices on store shelves, the metrics indicate a push to smartphones and tablets, device categories that IDC expects to see grow 95.9 percent and 131.2 percent by 2016, respectively.
IDC calls the current market state a "multi-device era," with smartphones and tablet driving shipments while traditional PCs will continue to lose ground.
"Both consumers and business workers are finding the need for multiple 'smart' devices and we expect that trend to grow for several years, especially in more developed regions," said IDC's Program Vice President of Clients and Displays Bob O'Donnell. "The advent of cloud-based services is enabling people to seamlessly move from device to device, which encourages the purchase and usage of different devices for different situations."