This year will likely see more lower-priced smartphones on the market, as billions of consumers in emerging markets such as China and India ask for budget phones. The popularity of the tablet computers may taper off. According to market research firm Gartner Inc., this year's smartphone shipments will rise 11 percent to 1.3 billion units. The annual average growth rate of smartphone shipments between 2011 and 2013 was 50 percent, with that for 2011 reaching as high as 90 percent. As the smartphone uptake ratio in developed country markets approaches the saturation point, however, the growth rate would decline below the 10-percent level.
Although the overall smartphone market growth rate slows down, the segment for low- and mid-priced devices is rising steeply. As late as 2012, the share of low- and mid-priced phones in total was 37 percent. But the ratio will likely to rise to 55 percent by 2016.
The regional market with the highest demand for lower-priced phones is Asia in which the two world's most populous nations are located. According to Gartner, the share of Asia is increasing steadily in terms of smartphone shipments by region. Strategy Analytics said recently that the Chinese smartphone market will account for about a third in total by growing 26.4 percent this year.
Meanwhile, the sales of tablet computers will suffer. That's because of a long replacement cycle of the tablet and the launch of the "phablet" that combines the features of tablet computer and smartphone. According to Gartner, tablet shipments this year will be about 233 million, up 11 percent from 2014. This is a far cry from 2012 when tablet shipments rose 114 percent from the previous year.
Source: The Korea Economic Daily