China set to pass US in smartphone shipments… and India, Brazil are next

chinese flag

chinese flag

The latest report from research firm IDC yesterday showed that in contrast to its March’s report, China will surpass the United States in terms of smartphone shipments quite comfortably by 8.7 percent compared to the previously forecasted 0.1 percent for 2012. Other players such as India and Brazil are tipped to become some of the hottest smartphone markets in the future, and may pass the US a few years down the line.

According to Wong Teck-Zhung, a senior market analyst at IDC, China’s subsequent growth will be mainly due to growth in the sub-$200 Android segment. He added that the declining smartphone prices for the low-end segment, together with carrier subsidies and customized handsets from local vendors, will also greatly support further smartphone market and shipment growth in China. In later years, 4G networks will become another reason for the country’s smartphone market growth, but 4G is still in limited local testing at the moment in China.

Chart: 2011, 2012 and 2016 Smartphone Shipment Market Share, Top 5 CountriesDescription: Tags: Author: IDCcharts powered by iCharts

Ramos Llamas, the senior research analyst of IDC, said that US growth is not stopping, but simply continuing at a slower pace. He added, “There is still a market for first-time users as well as thriving upgrade opportunities [in the US].”

Regarding the market forecast looking towards 2016, China’s share will see a small relative decline because of the high smartphone growth predicted to happen in other countries, most notably in India and Brazil.

India is predicted to have the biggest smartphone market growth in the next years, with the biggest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 57.5% until 2016. IDC believes that the low-end dual-SIM powered smartphones priced around US$100 and a variety of local apps are the main reasons for India’s market growth.

Brazil follows India with the second highest CAGR of 44%. Strategic developments made by the government and mobile operators will boost the smartphone market, reckons IDC.

This article by Enricko Lukman originally appeared on Tech in Asia and was published with their permission.



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