Smartphones Power Strong Growth in Mobile Phone Sales: IDC
Worldwide smartphone shipments are forecast to grow 40 percent year over year to more than 1 billion units this year.Strong demand for smartphones across all geographies is expected to drive the worldwide mobile phone market to 7.3 percent year-over-year growth in 2013, marking a sharp rebound from the nearly flat (1.2 percent) growth experienced in 2012, according to the latest report from IT research firm International Data Corporation (IDC). Worldwide smartphone shipments are forecast to grow 40 percent year over year to more than 1 billion units this year. The report noted high smartphone growth is the result of a variety of factors, including steep device subsidies from carriers, especially in mature economic markets, as well as a growing array of sub-$200 smartphones. Total smartphone shipments are forecast to reach 1.7 billion units in 2017. "Smartphones will represent virtually all of the mobile phone market in many of the world's most developed economies by the end of 2017," Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker program, said in a statement. "Aggressive carrier subsidies of handsets, falling prices, higher consumer awareness and a vast array of devices will mean almost all phones shipped to the developed world will be 'smart.' However, smartphone shipment volume will be dominated by emerging markets, such as China, even though the percentage of smartphones to feature phones won’t be as high." In fact, the overall mobile phone market is growing faster than previously forecast thanks to a stronger-than-expected first half of the year driven by strong gains in emerging markets and the sub-$200 smartphone segment. IDC analysts previously projected 5.8 percent growth for the year, but vendors are now forecast to ship more than 1.8 billion mobile phones this year, growing to more than 2.3 billion mobile phones in 2017.
"Two years ago, the worldwide smartphone market flirted with shipping half a billion units for the first time–to double that in just two years highlights the ubiquity that smartphones have achieved," Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team, said in a statement. "The smartphone has gone from being a cutting-edge communications tool to becoming an essential component in the everyday lives of billions of consumers."