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June 11, 2013

Strong Mobile Phone Sales Continue with 1.86B-mark in Sight for 2013

This year marked an interesting turnaround in mobile phone sales. For the first time ever, the sale of smartphones exceeded the sale of “non-smart” phones. Smartphones received a great deal of help due to the fact that they are becoming cheaper and are being sold in emerging markets. This happened in Q1 2013.

A recent report from International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that about one billion smart connected devices will be sold in emerging markets by the end of 2014. A lot of companies are making slightly watered down versions of their smartphones purposely intended for the emerging market. One such example is BlackBerry’s new Q5 smartphone.

CCS Insight is a global telecommunications analyst company. It provides comprehensive services designed and tailored to meet clients’ individual needs. Yesterday, June 10, CCS Insight predicted that by the year 2017, the world will have more mobile devices than people. The prediction is that there will be over 6.6 billion mobile phones in use by the end of 2017.

This year alone, the expected sale of smartphones will almost reach one billion. The number that CCS Insight mentions is 983 million. The mobile and media analyst firm expects that 1.86 billion mobile phones will be shipped in 2013. Of these mobile devices, 53 percent will be smartphones.

It is not just smartphones are have been soaring in sales. The sale of tablets has also been on the rise at a staggering rate. Global shipments of smart mobile devices, which include smartphones and tablets, will increase by an estimated 2.5 times between 2012 and 2017. This will reach the 2.1 billion units mark.

Marina Koytcheva, director of forecasting at CCS Insight, believes that there is no room for complacency. She sees that even the more dominant operating systems like Android and iOS will face challenges. She said, "Having defined the modern smartphone era, Apple is struggling to keep up with overall smartphone market growth, particularly as that growth shifts toward emerging markets. Apple will have to choose between sustaining its profit margin and holding onto market share."

When talking about the competition, Koytcheva said, "Microsoft desperately needs to make an impact in smartphones as the PC market shows no sign of leaving the doldrums. Similarly, BlackBerry seems determined to remain a relevant competitor. And let's not forget new upstarts like Tizen, Firefox OS, Sailfish OS, BaiduYi and Aliyun, which are all hustling to grab a share of this lucrative market."

"Giving phone users the next generation of communication technology is going to be critical. Mobile network operators are investing huge sums in 4G technology and are pushing hard to get 4G enabled phones into people's hands," Koytcheva added.

All of this leads to CCS Insight’s expectations that the sale of 4G devices will grow significantly between 2012 and 2017. It expects there to be 650 million units shipped in that time, with almost half going to emerging markets.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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