Smartphones to surpass feature phones by 2015

January 19, 2013

The latest market forecasts from ABI Research indicate that by 2018 smartphones will represent 69% of the global mobile phone market with a total number of 2.4 billion handsets.At the same period, 4G LTE handsets will have gone mainstream, hitting a staggering 35 percent global penetration.By next year, smartphones are forecast to account for more than half of all phones being bought, according to the latest industry projections by ABI. At the moment, Smartphones have already reached the 50 percentage point in the United States of America and in a number of European countries notably Spain and Italy and come next year,the handsets are expected to account for more than half of all phones shipped and sold globally.While reading the report, I was surprised that the technology features in the latest smartphones mainly in 4G LTE handsets are already proving extremely popular in a number of markets despite the fact that with the exception of Northern America and parts of Asia Pacific, there are very few countries that have established their own high speed mobile internet networks. The successful launch of LTE handsets from leading OEMs means LTE handsets will be found in the hands of many consumers who do not even have access to LTE networks although Apple demonstrated to the market with launch of iPhone 5 that LTE is not the only reason to buy a premium handset.

Notably, the ABI report indicate that despite being an LTE trendsetter, Apple’s popularity is nose-diving and that its global market share is expected to peak this year at 22 %, where it will stay for the next five years.However,the report notes that Samsung will continue to maintain its top position as the world’s leading smartphone and feature phone maker. Samsung has grown its smartphone market share from 8% in 2010 to over 30 percent last year and shows no rate of slowing down. And as Samsung becomes more powerful, the emphasis it places on different operating systems could have a huge effect on future mobile trends. Currently, Samsung’s smartphone majority of sales come from Android handsets although the company also makes Windows OS handsets. Apart from that, the company has its own OS, Bada, which is used on its entry-level handsets in emerging markets like East Africa and Middle East. In addition to that, Samsung is also a partner in Tizen, a Linux-based OS that could in the future challenge both Android and  iOS market dominance.

Contador Harrison