Affordability Pushing Smartphone Shipments to Record High

Affordability Pushing Smartphone Shipments to Record HighSmartphone affordability has spread to emerging markets in Asia and elsewhere, pushing prices below $200 under many carrier-subsidized plans.
And with T-Mobile introducing no-contract installment plans, and the big 3 (Verizon, AT&T and Sprint) offering more payment options — all with little to no interest — the market will likely hit new highs this year.
International Data Corporation’s just-released world-wide quarterly report on mobile phones is forecasting smartphone shipments to grow 40 percent year-over-year to more than 1 billion units in 2013, a new benchmark.
Smartphone growth is the result of several factors, including steep device subsidies from carriers, especially in mature economic markets, and a growing array of sub-$200 smartphones.
Total smartphone shipments are forecast to reach 1.7 billion units in 2017.
If you add in non-smartphone, or feature phones, to the mix, vendors are forecast by IDC to ship more than 1.8 billion mobile phones this year, growing to over 2.3 billion mobile phones in 2017.
“Two years ago, the worldwide smartphone market flirted with shipping half a billion units for the first time – to double that in just two years highlights the ubiquity that smartphones have achieved,” said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC’s Mobile Phone team. “The smartphone has gone from being a cutting-edge communications tool to becoming an essential component in the everyday lives of billions of consumers.”
Moreover, smartphones will represent “virtually all of the mobile phone market in many of the world’s most developed economies by the end of 2017,” said Kevin Restivo, Senior Research Analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker program.
Smartphone shipment volume will be dominated by emerging markets, such as China, even though the percentage of smartphones to feature phones won’t be as high, Restivo said.

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