Smartphone Shipments to Hit 1.8 Billion by 2017


Share this Post

Earlier this month it was revealed that smartphones now make up over half of mobile phone sales worldwide. That trend is set to continue, with smartphones predicted to make up an ever-increasing portion of mobile phone sales.

Market research firm NPD DisplaySearch today predicted that it will take less than five years for smartphones to make up over 80% of all mobile phone sales. The firm predicts that 1.8 billion smartphones will be shipped in the year 2017, making up 82% of global mobile phone shipments. While this puts the compound annual growth rate for smartphones at 21% for the next five years, feature phones will continue to decline at a 16% annual growth rate.

As predicted by nearly every smartphone industry analyst, DisplaySearch sees most of the market growth in the next few years coming from emerging markets such as China, India, and Brazil. This means that even though smartphones will make up a larger portion of sales, the prices for the devices will continue to drop.

“Smartphone market growth is being fueled by entry-level smartphones from international brands and white-box vendors in emerging markets,” said Tina Teng, senior analyst for smartphones at DisplaySearch. “We expect aggressive pricing moves to continue, prompting first-time smartphone buyers to upgrade earlier.”

Smartphone may firmly dominate the market in five years, but it will take longer for its associated technologies to propogate. DisplaySearch predicts that only 41% of smartphones shipped in 2017 will have 4G capabilities, while just over half (51%) will have 3G capabilities. The firm also believes emerging market price necessities will keep smartphone sizes moderated, with only 38% of smartphones in 2017 having a screen above five inches and most smartphones having displays between four and five inches.

(Image courtesy T-Mobile)