IDC now expects that China will overtake the United States this year as the largest market for smartphones in the world. It predicts that China will account for 26.5% of all smartphone shipments in 2012, compared to 17.8% for the United States. Demand for cheaper Android smartphones will drive much of the Chinese smartphone demand.
“Looking ahead, the PRC smartphone market will continue to be lifted by the sub-US$200 Android segment,” said Wong Teck-Zhung, senior market analyst, Client Devices, IDC Asia/Pacific. “Near-term prices in the low-end segment will come down to US$100 and below as competition for market share intensifies among smartphone vendors. Carrier-subsidized and customized handsets from domestic vendors will further support the migration to smartphones and boost shipments. Looking ahead to the later years in the forecast, the move to 4G networks will be another growth catalyst.”
IDC also identifies India, Brazil and the United Kingdom as the third through fifth largest smartphone markets by 2016 due to their expected strong growth in the next five years. For example, India could see its global smartphone share rise from 2.5% in 2012 to 8.5% in 2016.
Meanwhile, growth in more mature markets such as the U.S. will not stop but will slow. Growth will be driven by first-time users switching from feature phones to smartphones and current smartphone users upgrading devices.
Read more: IDC