IDC Remains Optimistic About Handheld Devices, Forecasts 71 Million Shipments by 2005

FRAMINGHAM, MA – JUNE 20, 2001 – Strong momentum in the worldwide handheld devices market slammed into a slumbering U.S. economy and put the brakes on the industry’s impressive shipment growth. According to IDC, worldwide shipments increased 88% to 13.6 million in 2000, but this year’s increase will be less than half last year’s at 43%. IDC believes this still-strong growth rate is enough to warrant optimism in the market.


"Just six months ago, handheld devices were the bright spot amid dismal expectations for other types of personal technologies such as PCs and mobile handsets. However, handheld devices have proved they are not immune to the economic slowdown," said Kevin Burden, manager of IDC’s Smart Handheld Devices research program. "Still, no one is saying the handheld industry is circling the drain. In fact, we are quite optimistic about the future of the market."

Optimistic indeed. IDC estimates worldwide shipments will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 39% from 13.6 million in 2000 to 70.9 million by 2005.

The U.S. market represents the largest opportunity for handheld device vendors, accounting for 49% of worldwide shipments in 2000. However, U.S. shipments will grow slower than the overall market, and by 2005 U.S. share will decline to 38%. Shipments in Asia/Pacific will increase the fastest, earning a 2000-2005 compound annual growth rate of 60%.

In terms of devices, personal companions are the most popular. IDC estimates they will represent 83% of worldwide shipments in 2001. "Increased diversity of personal companion models across price bands and feature sets, new applications, and new uses are creating appeal for these devices in new market segments," said Alex Slawsby, analyst for IDC’s Smart Handheld Devices research program.

"The evolution of technology in the entire smart handheld market is beginning to enable devices to bend to the usage, needs, and wishes of their users instead of the traditional paradigm of the user bending to the interface and device requirements, and this is increasing acceptance among users," Slawsby added.

IDC’s new report, Hand Check: The Smart Handheld Devices Market Forecast and Analysis, 2000-2005 (IDC #B24859) reviews the market’s second-half 2000 performance and forecasts shipments, value of shipments, and average system prices through 2005. The report also shows market share leaders by segment based on 2000 shipments. The following market segments are examined: personal companions, PC companions, pen tablets, pen notepads, and keypad handhelds. Market drivers and inhibitors for each segment are analyzed. Additionally, the report addresses major trends impacting the industry, such as the effects of recent price cuts, and the future of Palm, Pocket PC, and Symbian.

To purchase this report, contact Patrick Steeves at 1-800-343-4952 extension 4549 or at

About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC's customers comprise the world’s leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.

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