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Smartphone shipments to top feature phones this year

Posted: 22 May 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smartphone? feature phone? 3G?

Worldwide smartphone shipments will exceed shipments of basic and feature phones for the first time this year. This is according to the latest report from NPD DisplaySearch that said global smartphone shipments are seen to approach 937 million units in 2013, compared to just 889 million units for basic phones and feature phones. Between 2011 and 2016, smartphone shipments will grow at a CAGR of 26 per cent, to 1.45 billion units, which will account for two-thirds of the mobile phone market, noted the market analytics firm.

"The global smartphone market is expected to continue growing rapidly over the next two years," said Shawn Lee, research director at NPD DisplaySearch. "With larger, higher-resolution displays, faster processors and higher-capacity cellular systems being built, the smartphone is not only becoming a must-have device, but is satisfying many needs that formerly required other computing and consumer electronics devices."

Emerging markets are driving most of the smartphone growth, due in large part to better download speeds as networks are upgraded to 3G and 4G. In these markets, entry-level smartphones priced below $200 are gaining momentum. China leads in the entry-level smartphone category, comprising 55 per cent of shipments. China is also the largest market for smartphones as a whole, and the Asia-Pacific region will account for over 50 per cent of smartphone shipments in 2013.

At the high end of the market, LTE-enabled smartphones will reach 23 per cent market share in 2013, stated NPD DisplaySearch. As this segment of the global smartphone market grows, demand for several key features will increase as well. Shipments of AMOLED and LTPS LCD panels for full high-definition (FHD) resolution smartphones are forecast to increase significantly, from 1.7 million units in 2012 to 113 million units in 2013.

"To increase revenue share and gain margin in the smartphone market, a variety of new handsets, as well as new products launched by service and content providers, will enter the market," Lee said. "As smartphone specifications and features become more advanced, and as device replacement rates increase, we can expect further investment in the industry by manufacturers, carriers, and governments."

Screen sizes are also changing with the market. In 2013, more than half (57 per cent) of smartphone displays will range between 4-5in, while screens larger than 5in will grow to 16 per cent of the market. Panel makers are increasing production of smartphone displays in larger-generation LCD factories to meet the demand for these larger panels.

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