Along with tablets, smartphones are expected once again to be a hot holiday shopping item. Though some market watchers believe smartphone sales are beginning to saturate in established markets, the overall smartphone market is still growing at a steady pace.
Market research firm IDC today released a new report predicting that over 1 billion smartphones will have shipped in 2013. This represents an over 39% increase over smartphone shipments in 2012. The report also estimates that nearly 1.7 billion smartphones will be shipped during the year 2017.
Of course, this rise in shipments is no longer being driven by Europe or the U.S. Instead, emerging markets such as India and China are receiving an ever-increasing share of smartphone sales. IDC's report predicts that the Asian and Latin American markets will be the fastest-growing smartphone markets over the next four years. Asia is already show to make up over half of global smartphone shipments in 2013.
The increase in shipment volume to emerging markets is, of course, being led by low-cost hardware. This is leading to a significant dip in the average price of smartphones worldwide. IDC estimates that the average price of a smartphone sold in 2013 will be $337 - a nearly 13% drop from the average $387 price of smartphones in 2012.
"The game has changed quite drastically due to the decline in smartphone ASPs (average selling prices)," said Ryan Reith, program director at IDC. "Just a few years back the industry was talking about the next billion people to connect, and it was assumed the majority of these people would do so by way of the feature phone. Given the trajectory of ASPs, smartphones are now a very realistic option to connect those billion users."