Smartphones to rule earth by 2014


Apple's marketshare will peak at 22% in 2013 as smartphones dominate global handset market

Smartphones are set to dominate the mobile device market by 2014 as they push feature phone sales to the wall in 2013. Smartphone shipments will account for 50% of all handset shipments by 2014 and become the largest handset segment in the world, according to the latest market forecasts.

By 2018, 2.4 billion handset shipments with smartphones will account for 69% of all handset shipments, said market intelligence firm, ABI Research. LTE handsets will account for 35% of all handset shipments and 50% of smartphone shipments in 2018.

Since 2010 Samsung has grown its smartphone market share from 8% to over 30% in 2012; meanwhile Apple's market share is expected to peak in 2013 at 22%, remaining flat through 2018.  'Barring an unlikely collapse in Samsung's business, even Apple will be chasing Samsung's technology, software, and device leadership in 2013 through the foreseeable future,' commented senior ABI analyst Michael Morgan.

While Samsung's rise has been on the back of Android, which accounts for 90% of Samsung's smartphone shipments, the future smartphone operating system landscape is likely to be heavily influenced by the importance Samsung places on the elements of its operating system portfolio of Bada, Tizen, Windows Phone, and Android, said ABI.

Just as handset OEM focus has driven the success of the Android ecosystem, LTE smartphones, and handsets will also experience a rapid increase in shipment penetration as handset OEMs battle to keep their handsets relevant to mobile operators. As LTE handsets commonly feature the latest in screen and application processor technologies, LTE handsets will also benefit from the demand of consumers looking to acquire a premium smartphone regardless of its WWAN connectivity.

ABI senior practice director, Jeff Orr, added: 'With the successful launch of the iPhone 5 and competing LTE handsets from other leading OEMs, LTE handsets will be found in the hands of many consumers who do not even have access to LTE networks. Apple is demonstrating to the market that LTE is not the only reason to buy a premium handset.'

While LTE will be the fastest growing wireless wide area network (WWAN) technology in history, the growth in smartphone shipment penetration will be driven by the rapidly growing low cost smartphone segment. ABI Research forecasts that smartphones with wholesale average selling prices under $250 will account for 62% of smartphone shipments by 2018.


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