Marketing research firm IHS iSuppli this week announced that its research shows smartphone shipments rising much faster than previously predicted. According to its figures, iSuppli predicts that smartphone shipments will constitute 54% of the cell phone market next year. The firm has readjusted its outlook to also predict that more than one-third of cell phone shipments in 2016 will be smartphones.
“This represents a major upgrade for the outlook compared to a year ago, when smartphones weren’t expected to take the lead until 2015,” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS. “Over the past 12 months, smartphones have fallen in price, and a wider variety of models have become available, spurring sales of both low-end smartphones in regions like Asia-Pacific, as well as midrange to high-end phones in the United States and Europe. The solid expansion in both shipments and market share this year of smartphones will make them the leading type of mobile phone for the first time, and shipment growth in the double digits will continue for the next few years.”
Part of the reason for this rapid acceleration in the proliferation of smartphones is the low-end smartphone market. Manufacturers have realized that, even subsidized, their high-end smartphones are expensive. This leaves a large segment of the cell phone-using population out of the smartphone market. Recently, however, those same manufacturers have realized that even cheaply made smartphones are still popular, especially in developing nations where they are even replacing feature phones in many cases.