The global smartphone market is still growing at a steady pace thanks to more widespread adoption in emerging markets.
The market surpassed the 1 billion shipments milestone for the first time last year, according to BI Intelligence estimates.
Total smartphone shipments reached about 1.3 billion for 2014, representing growth of 29% over the 990 million smartphones shipped in 2013. For comparison, growth in 2013 was about 45%. We’re now very close to reaching the halfway point in adoption worldwide.
What’s more, the next billion smartphone shipments will come much faster than the first billion. We estimate that the market will surpass the 2 billion milestone next year.
In a recent report from BI Intelligence, we updated our smartphone forecast to reflect stronger, steadier growth in the near term and have also expanded our forecast out through 2020. We take a look at the driving factors behind this, including: a surge in upgrades in developed markets, the accelerated shift from feature phones to smartphones, and growth out of powerhouses in China and India.
Here are some key points from the report:
- The global smartphone market is still growing at a steady pace thanks to more widespread adoption in emerging markets. We estimate the global market will hit about 3.4 billion units shipped in 2020.
- Low-cost smartphones are proliferating across emerging markets, driving the feature phone closer to obsolescence. Feature phones now account for just 25% of total mobile phone shipments worldwide. We estimate feature phone sales will decline 12% per year on average through 2020.
Shipments growth continues to be driven by emerging markets, but already China is maturing, and India is becoming the new growth engine. We forecast shipments in the Indian market will grow roughly 31% per year on average through 2020, compared to 8% average annual growth in China.
- The global platform wars are still playing out, with Apple able to push back against Android dominance on the backs of new device launches. After the release of the iPhone 6 line, Apple was able to grow market share in the fourth quarter 8 percentage points from a year earlier, and knock Android’s share down to 77%.
- On the vendor side, Apple’s strong quarter came at the expense of Samsung. Apple iPhone shipments grew 46% YoY in the fourth quarter — the highest growth rate in two years — while Samsung shipments fell 7% YoY during the period.
- Simultaneously, Chinese vendors like Xiaomi continued to grow their share of global shipments. Combined, the top five Chinese smartphone vendors made up 24% of total global smartphone market shipments in the fourth quarter of 2014, up from just 18% two years prior.
In full, the report:
- Forecasts global smartphone shipments through 2020.
- Examines the demise of the feature phone on the global mobile market.
- Pinpoints India as the next high-growth smartphone market.
- Breaks down the global smartphone platform wars.
- Discusses smartphone vendor performance and market share.
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