Smartphones Overtake Feature Phones

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.

2013-03-smartphoneFueled 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 smartphones.

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 data - are smartphone friendly is, pardon the pun, smart. We can help you plan out a strategy to achieve this most important goal. Contact us today!

Written by Kevin Kutcher at 09:00
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