For the first time in 2013 there will be more smartphones shipped globally than basic or feature phones, as the smartphone becomes a must-have device and begins to replace other computing devices.
Smartphones are expected to continue to dominate the market. Shawn Lee, research director at NPD DisplaySearch, said, “The global smartphone market is expected to continue growing rapidly over the next two years. With larger, higher-resolution displays, faster processors, and higher-capacity cellular systems being built, the smartphone is not only becoming a must-have device, but is satisfying many needs that formerly required other computing and consumer electronics devices.”
Entry-level smartphones costing under $200 are gaining momentum most quickly. As networks have continued to upgrade to 3G and 4G download speeds, emerging markets for smartphones have grown. Demand for improved smartphone screens has increased with demand for the phones. Full high-definition screens will show a huge increase this year, from 1.7 million units in 2012 to 113 million in 2013. Screen sizes are expected to change in 2013 as well, with 57 percent ranging between four and five inches and 16 percent over five inches.
Asia currently dominates the market for smartphones. China leads in both the entry-level category and in smartphone sales as a whole, with Asia accounting for half of smartphone sales. Smartphone sales in Southeast Asia rose 61 percent in the last year.
Gerard Tan, Account Director for Digital World at GfK Asia, believes demand for the phones will continue to be seen in developing regions like Asia, ”Given that there is a substantial two-thirds of the region’s population who have yet to make the switch, there is still a sizable potential market for manufacturers to capture and convert to smartphone users…Consumers in the developing regions will continue to be the driving force of the smartphone sector’s strong double or even triple digit growth performance in the coming years.”
Samsung (SSNLF.PK) is the current leader in smartphone sales, with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and LG following in second and third. These companies will have to respond to the increased demand for entry-level smartphones and new screen technology.
As it becomes more commonplace for people to own smartphones and the technology in the phones improves, sales can be expected to continue to increase both in the U.S. and abroad.