Nov 28, 2013

    Smartphone sales to top one billion units this year


    GLOBAL smartphone sales will top one billion for the first time this year, and keep growing at a steady pace for the next four years, a market tracker said on Tuesday.

    The forecast by International Data Corporation (IDC) showed smartphone growth of 39.3 per cent this year over last year, a pace that will moderate in the next few years.

    One key factor in the marketplace is the decline in smartphone prices, according to IDC. The average sales price this year is estimated at US$337 (S$422), down 12 per cent from a year ago. And IDC predicts it will drop further to US$265 by 2017.

    "The key driver behind smartphone volumes in the years ahead is the expected decrease in prices," said IDC analyst Ramon Llamas.

    "Particularly within emerging markets, where price sensitivity and elasticity are so important, prices will come down for smartphones to move beyond the urban elite and into the hands of mass-market users," he added.

    "Every vendor is closely eyeing how far down they can price their devices while still realising a profit and offering a robust smartphone experience."

    IDC expects smartphone shipments to hit 1.7 billion units by 2017, with the growth rate easing to an average of 18.4 per cent in the coming year.

    The game has changed quite drastically due to the decline in prices, said fellow IDC analyst Ryan Reith.

    The fastest growth in smartphones will be in the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions, with each expected to see increases of around 23 per cent in the next four years.