Smartphone ownership accelerating faster than expected worldwide

Smartphone ownership accelerating faster than expected worldwide

Summary: Smartphone shipments projected to account for 54 percent of the total cellphone market by 2013, up from 46 percent this year.


Smartphones are projected to account for the majority of global cellphone shipments in 2013, which is at least two years earlier than previously predicted, according to market intelligence firm IHS iSuppli.

In fact, IHS forecasts that 2013 will actually mark the first time that smartphones will account for more than half of all cellphone shipments.

Specifically, smartphone shipments are projected to cover 54 percent of the total cellphone market next year -- up from 46 percent in 2012 and 35 percent in 2011.

Wayne Lam, a senior analyst covering wireless communications at IHS, remarked in the report that smartphones weren't expected to take the lead until at least 2015, so this is a "major upgrade" compared to last year's forecast.

Over the past 12 months, smartphones have fallen in price, and a wider variety of models have become available, spurring sales of both low-end smartphones in regions like Asia-Pacific, as well as midrange to high-end phones in the United States and Europe. The solid expansion in both shipments and market share this year of smartphones will make them the leading type of mobile phone for the first time, and shipment growth in the double digits will continue for the next few years.

Thus, smartphones are now becoming what IHS describes as a "focal point" for the cellphone industry as they start to beat out featurephones by offering more bang for your buck each year.

Smartphones also seem to have another edge up on featurephones as the smartphone market can really be divided into two segments itself with low-end and high-end devices. IHS analysts argue that low-end smartphones, in particular, will likely find a lot of success in developing markets as well as with first-time smartphone owners.

By 2016, IHS now predicts smartphones will cover 67.4 percent of the total cellphone market.

Featurephones, on the other hand, are supposed to drop to 28 percent of the market share that year. Ultra-low-cost handsets will round out the market with 4.2 percent of the market share in 2016.

Topics: Smartphones, Tech Industry

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  • I have to ask

    If smartphone adoption is growing rapidly, why is the cost of a data plan going up rather than down?
    • 4G expansion and iPhone subsidies

      Somebody has to pay for the roll out of 4G LTE nationwide. Until those upgrade costs are taken care of, the cost of data services will take a while to fall.

      Then there's the cost of subsidizing the iPhone. The iPhone costs more than $450 in subsidies per customer, which is twice that of the most expensive alternatives. Carriers are now realizing that the larger the percentage of their user base using iPhones, the less profits they get. The more iPhones in the market, the slower will be the fall in the cost of data plans. Relying on the most expensive smartphone in the world to grow your user base has its long term consequences.
      • Every time

        the allegedly high subsidy of the iPhone is brought up I ask for a link and never get one. Can YOU provide one? Thanks.
        • Buddy, that's what 'the Google' is for...

          If you want links, search for "iPhone kills carrier subsidies" on Google.
          • Oops

            That Google search should really should be "iPhone kills carrier profits"....but the resulting links are basically the same....
    • I think you just answered your own question.

      The law of supply and demand, etc.
  • I'm not surprised at all...

    how many "feature phones" do you see in most outlets? What phones do the
    carriers "guide" customers to? From wht I've seen, feature phones have been
    relegated to the "pay as you go" type phones, almost exclusively, and even in
    this market smartphones are making a presence.
    Analysts and predictions...'nuff said!
  • Low End Smart Phone to be the New Feature Phone

    Banks and merchants are driving this shift. To use many services like to able to send a copy of your check for deposit via your phone requires more advance application installation and handling. "Pay as you go" will stay. People who use PAYGO services like monthly charge control the system can provide. Its generally cheaper than "contract" or charge after use systems.
  • For “Smartphone”, Read “Android”

    Why pussyfoot around it? The fact is, there is only one platform that is driving this crazy popularity of smartphones, and it’s Android.