The global market for connected devices that allow users to access the internet is set to surpass 6 billion units this year, as new products including mobile phones, tablets and computers enter the electronics ecosystem, according to a report from IHS Technology. Worldwide production of connected equipment will amount to 6.18 billion units in 2014, up a solid 6 percent from 5.82 billion in 2013. This will be the largest increase for the market in four years, surpassed only by the 10 percent hike in production during 2010, a year after the global economic recession ended.
Production growth rates will then slow in the next few years, even though total units produced will continue to rise in absolute numbers. Between 2015 and 2017, an estimated 19.42 billion new devices will flood the planet.
Connected devices are defined as equipment that allow users to interact with the internet in some fashion, from as passive an activity as simply looking at photos in social media or streaming media content for consumption, to a livelier form of engagement, such as gaming in real time. The devices must possess embedded connectivity, made possible through built-in semiconductors.
Among connected devices, those expected to enjoy higher production numbers this year include video game consoles, media tablets, mobile handsets, liquid-crystal display televisions (LCD TVs), set-top boxes and mobile Pcs. In contrast, equipment markets that will suffer reduced production this year are digital still cameras, camcorders, desktop PCs, DVD players/records and portable media players. Game consoles are forecast to enjoy the largest growth among all segments, up a mighty 45 percent this year in light of a major product refresh late last year following a seven-year drought of new models. The main products here are the PlayStation 4 from Sony and the Xbox One from Microsoft.
Media tablets and mobile phones will also thrive in 2014, with production up 25 percent for the former and 7 percent for the latter. Also expected to do well is the mobile PC segment, including tablet PCs, although production for all personal computers is forecast to rise by a much more modest 2 percent.