Feature Article

November 25, 2013

Global Mobile Phone Shipments will be Dominated by Smartphones by 2017

NPD DisplaySearch has been a leading provider of reliable information, insightful analysis and industry events specifically focused on the display supply chain and display-related industries since 1996. In 2005, DisplaySearch became an independently operated subsidiary of The NPD Group.

The NPD Group is a company that provides market information and advisory services to help its clients make better business decisions. This includes developing and offering the right products in the right places at the right prices for the right people in order to grow their businesses.

According to the latest NPD DisplaySearch Smartphone Quarterly report, we can expect to see smartphones surpass feature phone shipments in a couple of years. The Smartphone Quarterly report offers analyses of the smartphone market by region, brand, air interface, technology and mobile operation system on a quarterly and annual basis. In addition, it provides analyses of the market and technology trends of smartphone key components.

The latest report forecasts that global smartphone shipments will reach 1.8 billion in 2017. This will account for about 82 percent of total mobile phone handset shipments. This is a major rise as in the third quarter 2013 that percentage was sitting at 55.

This forecast shows that the compound annual growth rate of (CAGR) for smartphones over the next five years will reach 21 percent, while feature phones will decline at a CAGR of 16 percent. We can expect to see the largest growth coming from the Asia-Pacific region.

China will be the leader in this area. China is predicted to grow 63 percent this year alone. It is then expected to comprise 30 percent of the smartphone market by 2017. We have seen this year that China is expanding into the emerging market and offering more choices with lower end smartphones.

Tina Teng is Senior Analyst of Smartphones at DisplaySearch. She is responsible for analysis and forecasting for smartphone devices and ecosystems focusing on the semiconductor components, mobile operating systems, and air interface technologies.

She said, “Smartphone market growth is being fueled by entry-level smartphones from international brands and white-box vendors in emerging markets. We expect aggressive pricing moves to continue, prompting first-time smartphone buyers to upgrade earlier.”

The quarter report finds that as worldwide network speeds increase, 4G smartphones will continue to penetrate more of the market. These smartphones should reach about 41 percent of smartphone shipments in 2017. However, due to its economy of scale, 3G high-speed packet access (HSPA) will continue to be the dominant air-interface technology. This will comprise about 51 percent of the market in 2017.

It looks like the most popular screen size will be just less than five inches. The group ranging between 4 and 4.9 inches will be the leaders. Phablets are also on the rise. Screen sizes of larger than five inches will account for somewhere around 38 percent of total smartphone shipments.

Full HD displays are predicted to become the most dominant resolution for smartphones. We can expect to see about a 43 percent market share by 2017. Quad HD displays will become available in 2014 and are expected to penetrate 16 percent of smartphone shipments in 2017.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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