Economy Smartphones, with a retail price of $150 or lower, will account for nearly one-third of shipments in five years, helping to drive shipments to 1 billion annually, according to new research.
The report published by analyst firm Juniper Research forecasts that the number of global smartphone shipments will reach one billion per annum in 2016, up from 302 million in 2010.
Smartphones – traditionally high-end handsets – will make-up the majority of shipments in five years’ time, as this type of device becomes available at lower price points.
Competition amongst vendors offering premium smartphones is intense, and so Juniper believes the best opportunity for new players is through economy models (those with an unsubsidised retail value of $150 or less).
Report author Daniel Ashdown explains: “in developed markets, many consumers will want to upgrade from a feature phone to a smartphone, but still pay a feature phone price. In emerging markets though, lower average consumer spending power and lack of operator subsidies will make a low price point essential”.
Juniper predicts that open-source operating systems – predominantly Android – combined with the falling cost of key components will make this possible.
However, the market for standard smartphones ($151-$399) and premium smartphones ($400 and above) will remain robust:
• New technologies are arriving on these devices – including NFC, 3D and Biometrics;
• Features of other devices continue to be integrated into smartphones, including gamepads; and,
• Smartphones are reaching the market which can morph into other devices – notably tablets and netbooks.
The report provides substantial primary research on smartphone hardware specifications and analysis of recent trends and developments. Other primary research examines smartphone plans and handset subsidies, and the impact on subscriber retention costs for operators.