The International Data Corporation (IDC) is one of the world’s leading market research, analyst and advisory firms when it comes to technology. Their latest forecast in regards to mobile sales shows that for the first time ever, there will be more shipments of smartphones than feature phones with over 900 million smartphones predicted to be shipped by the end of the year. Currently dumb phones still make up for the majority of mobile shipments worldwide; in previous analyst reports we have noted how Nokia has managed to stay near the top of global mobile sales despite the relatively weak performance of Windows Phone due to sales of cheaper feature (dumb) phones over smartphones.
We have been seeing a growing trend towards smartphones by users over the past couple of years as interfaces become simpler and easier to use while prices across the board are falling without compromising hardware. There is no comparison when it comes to Nokia’s old Symbian OS compared to modern iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8. Even the progression from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich was a massive leap when it comes to software. On the hardware front, in the space of a year the Galaxy S3 has been degraded from top of line to midrange; remember when the Nexus One came out with its revolutionary 1 GHz processor and 5 MP camera? Now such hardware is present on entry-level devices such as the Galaxy Ace 2. It’s this level of innovation that has really helped boost the level of smartphone sales over the past couple of years.
The emerging markets of the world is another area that we are seeing significant growth. IDC predicts China to become the largest market for smartphones, downgrading the US down to second and the strong growth in India will see it becoming the third largest market over the next couple of years. Such growth in those two nations should be expected considering they have populations of 1.3 and 1.2 billion respectively compared to Europe and America who barely make it over 1 billion combined. Let’s not forget the role Chinese companies have had in the cheap smartphone business with companies such as Huawei flooding markets around the world with budget devices.
When did you make the leap from feature phone to smartphone? What do you think about the growth of budget smartphones? Do you think companies will spend more resources developing cheap phones or premium flagships?