China is expected to overtake the U.S. at the top global smartphone market sometime in 2013, and some metrics show that it has already happened. Now, analysts are predicting that other emerging countries could rise to become top smartphone markets later this decade.
Analyst firm ABI Research is now predicting that Russia will be rise to become the 7th-largest smartphone market by 2018, up from a predicted 11th-largest this year. In addition, Brazil and India are predicted to be in the top four largest smartphone markets by 2018.
“With room to grow, the emerging BRIC nations are displacing established markets such as the US and Japan as market leaders in terms of smartphone shipments,” said Michael Morgan, senior analyst with ABI.
ABI also predicts that Brazil, Russia, India, and China will account for 33% of smartphone shipments by 2018, matching the predicted combined 33% share of North America and Western Europe that same year. North America and Western Europe currently account for an estimated 39% of smartphone shipments in 2013. The cause of this rapid rise, say ABI analysts, is low-cost Android smartphones that have been developed and risen in quality in the past few years.
“When you look at operating system share in emerging markets, you tend to find that Android has been busy fulfilling its mission to bring the Internet to consumers who can’t afford a traditional PC or Laptop,” said Jeff Orr, senior practice director at ABI.