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Worldwide Phone Market to Grow Over Seven Percent – Important for SMBs

iStock_000020720692XSmallThe global phone market is expected to grow a whopping 7.3 percent year-over-year in 2013, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).

While the percentage itself may not seem “massive,” it is in the fact that just last year the market only grew a mere 1.2 percent. This year’s growth, however, is in big part to the driving growth worldwide of smartphone shipments.

According to IDC, shipments are expected to surpass one billion units, 40 percent year-over-year, for the first time in a single year.

“Two years ago, the worldwide smartphone market flirted with shipping half a billion units for the first time – to double that in just two years highlights the ubiquity that smartphones have achieved,” said Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC’s Mobile Phone team. “The smartphone has gone from being a cutting-edge communications tool to becoming an essential component in the everyday lives of billions of consumers.”

Overall, the mobile phone market is experiencing faster than expected growth due to strong gains in emerging markets. Additionally, factors influencing the increase include steep device subsidies from carriers as well as a growing variety of sub-$200 smartphones.

“Smartphones will represent virtually all of the mobile phone market in many of the world’s most developed economies by 2017,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker program, in regards to IDC’s forecast that total smartphone shipments will reach 1.7 billion by 2017.

Restivo added, “Aggressive carrier subsidies of handsets, falling prices, higher consumer awareness and a vast array of devices will mean almost all phones shipped to the developed world will be ‘smart.’ However, smartphone shipment volume will be dominated by emerging markets, such as China, even though the percentage of smartphones to feature phones won’t be as high.”

As for as smartphone operating systems, Android still reigns supreme as the most dominant OS; a status that IDC says will not be changing anytime soon. With Google’s solid reputation at their side, an ever-increasing volume of devices and Samsung as the world’s best seller, Android will remain on top regardless of possible share declines as the market matures and competition solidifies.

Apple’s iOS, on the other hand, will remain in the number two position; especially with the release of their new iPhone 5C. Similar to Android, iOS shares will also be tempered; however, it will be because of high price points, which make for a lower share ceiling.

“Underpinning the smartphone market is an evolving market for operating systems,” added Llamas. “We believe Android and iOS will remain the clear number one and two platforms, respectively throughout our forecast.”

Meanwhile, Windows Phone will remain in the number three spot, while BlackBerry may see a decline or remain flat as the market expands around it.

Llamas shares his sentiments regarding the two OS devices, concluding: “What remains to be see is how Windows Phone and BlackBerry’s respective futures will play out pending their recent announcements. Windows Phone has inched ahead of BlackBerry during the first half of 2013, and we believe that will extend into the future. However, overall shipments will continue to trail those of Android and iOS.”

Inasmuch as business operations is concerned, particularly that of small business, it is important to consider the marketplace from a consumer standpoint. The world is mobile and such mobility is moving toward ubiquity. Products and services offered by small businesses must be available via mobile device. Solid web design and a viable Ecommerce solution have never been more important.

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