A new report by Canalys found that smartphone sales overtook those of client PCs for the first time in 2011:
Vendors shipped 158.5 million smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2011, up 57% on the 101.2 million units shipped in the fourth quarter of 2010. This bumper quarter took total global shipments for the whole of 2011 to 488 million units, up 63% on the 299.7 million smartphones shipped throughout 2010. By comparison, the global client PC market grew 15% in 2011 to 414.6 million units, with 274% growth in pad shipments. Pads accounted for 15% of all client PC shipments in 2011.
"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," said Chris Jones, Canalys VP and Principal Analyst. "But pads have had negligible impact on smartphone volumes and markets across the globe have seen persistent and substantial growth through 2011. Smartphone shipments overtaking those of client PCs should be seen as a significant milestone. In the space of a few years, smartphones have grown from being a niche product segment at the high-end of the mobile phone market to becoming a truly mass-market proposition. The greater availability of smartphones at lower price points has helped tremendously, but there has been a driving trend of increasing consumer appetite for Internet browsing, content consumption and engaging with apps and services on mobile devices."