IHS has just released their iSuppli Mobile Handset Market Tracker, with a wealth of information and analysis on the landscape of the cellphone marketplace. In 2009, smartphones only accounted for 15.8 percent of the total market, a very small percent that has risen dramatically over the last two years. In the present day, smartphones are now accounting for 32.5 percent of the market and all signs are showing even more explosive growth.
While this last spike in growth has been spurred on by the popularity of high end devices, such as the iPhone, the next category to see a large growth will be the low-end smartphone market. The expected rate of annual growth is 115.4 percent over the next four years. Smartphones have become greatly adopted by mainstream culture and the prevalence of large scale app stores on multiple devices has sparked a great interest in these devices by all mobile users. These low-end devices, which often have smaller feature sets and lower amounts of onboard memory, are most attractive to first time smartphone users that are not quite ready to take the plunge to an iPhone or high-end Android device.
“Low-end smart phones often are sold with inexpensive tiered data plans that target consumers who do not yet need full-featured services. This further reduces these phones’ total cost of ownership, making them attractive to vast numbers of entry-level consumers.” Said Francis Sideco, senior analyst of wireless communications for IHS.
Smaller companies now have a chance to capture a greater marketshare. IHS is projecting Samsung to become a bigger player in the market due to their Bada Mobile OS. During the second quarter of 2011, Samsung’s smartphone sales grew 600 percent due to their low end-products in China and Latin America.
One point that is important to note, is that hardware is not the primary factor driving growth, instead now the growth of mobile app development is a greater factor. “Success in the mobile phone industry is no longer purely a function of hardware capabilities,” Sideco said. “Growth for all players is being determined by a number of other important factors, such as software capabilities, the sleekness and intuitiveness of the user interface and the availability of a variety of applications.”