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smartphones2Leading mobile analyst firm Juniper Research estimates that the number of smartphone shipments will approach 1.2bn this year, an increase of 19% from 985m in 2013. The market is expected to be driven by growth in emerging markets, due to a continued surge in sales and adoption of low-cost Economy ($75-$150) and Ultra-Economy (sub-$75) smartphones.

The report – Smartphone Markets: Trends, Shares & Forecasts 2014-2019 – notes that the emerging markets are now vital to success in this sector, with the gap between the growing emerging markets and the stagnating mature markets closing.

Emergence of the Sub-$150 Smartphones

While Apple and Samsung continue to dominate the Ultra-Premium end of the market, these vendors are facing significant pressure from local players in the emerging markets. For example, Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone vendor, is witnessing tremendous success in China and India as a result of its aggressive price-point offerings. These new players are beginning to build market share and achieve larger economies of scale, which eventually will enable them to expand their offering and challenge other Smartphone sectors in the future.

Additionally, Google is partnering with local vendors for its Google-One initiative to provide a unified feature set tailor-made for the low-cost smartphone market.

Apple’s New Horizons

In addition to the recently launched 4.7-inch iPhone 6, Apple launched a larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Although the 5.5-inch smartphone does not strictly classify it as a Phablet, we believe it has the potential to change the dynamics of the phablet market.

This will also have a significant impact on other vendors such as Samsung who previously had the additional advantage of having large screen devices.

Other Key Findings Include:

  • Apple and Samsung will account for nearly 45% of the global smartphones shipped this year.
  • The Average Selling Price of a smartphone will decline globally to reach $274 by 2019.

Source: Juniper Research