Smartphone shipments will exceed feature phone shipments for the first time
in 2013. Vendors will ship a total of 918.6 million smartphones
this year, 50.1% of the worldwide mobile phone shipments' total,
according to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
Declining smartphone prices, a broader based market ecosystem
and a pick-up in data-centric 4G wireless
networks "have made these 'do-it-all' devices an
increasingly attractive option for users" and will drive smartphone
shipments higher, according to IDC. The Framingham,
Massachusetts-based market research and information services
provider forecasts that 1.5 billion smartphones will be shipped
worldwide by the end of 2017, which will amount to just over 2/3 of
total shipments in that year.
Fueled by smartphone sales
in mature economies, such as North America and Western Europe, the
balance of demand will shift toward emerging market economies over
the period "where smartphone user bases are still relatively small
and economic prospects are considerably higher," IDC says.
Smartphone demand is "burgeoning" in large, populous emerging
market countries, such as China, Brazil and India where expanding
middle classes are interested in and able to purchase
China supplanted the U.S. as the world's largest smartphone
market. "While we don't expect China's smartphone growth to
maintain the pace of a runaway train as it has over the last two
years, there continue to be big drivers to keep the market growing
as it leads the way to ever-lower smartphone prices and the
country's transition to 4G networks is only just beginning," IDC
Asia/Pacific senior research manager Melissa Chau elaborated.
China, the U.S., the U.K., Japan and Brazil are the top five
countries in terms of smartphone shipments in 2012, according to
IDC's report. China will continue to be the world's largest
smartphone market over this five-year period, IDC predicts,
particularly when it comes to low-cost Android handsets, and, to a
lesser extent, Apple iPhones.
Growth in U.S. smartphone demand will slow in coming years as
smartphones already account for the majority of all mobile phone
users. There is also a shifting smartphone operating system (OS)
landscape in which BlackBerry and Microsoft try to gain market
share currently dominated by Apple and Google.
Embracing this reality of smartphone usage requires both
wireline and wireless carriers to respond. Ensuring your products -
voice, video, and
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help you plan out a strategy to achieve this most important goal.