Emerging markets will drive smartphone shipments to 1.7 billion by 2017.
Although expensive in emerging markets, the iPhone 5 will continue to make internet-savvy smartphones desirable.
Independent telecoms Analyst Ovum has released a new report, titled Smartphones in Emerging Markets: Shifting Landscape, which reveals emerging markets are driving smartphone growth.
Of the 450 million smartphones sold in 2011, emerging markets accounted for 160 million of them, of which China accounted for 66%. By Ovum’s estimates, smartphones will account for the majority (57%) of mobiles sold in emerging markets by 2017.
“China is at the center of smartphone development and adoption in emerging markets, with the whole ecosystem increasingly geared toward the production of ever-more feature-rich affordable devices,” comments Shiv Putcha, Ovum Principal Analyst, Telecoms Emerging Markets. “This new wave of affordable smartphones will have a major impact on consumer choice in emerging markets.”
A sub-$100 category of smartphones has grown in popularity; however, smartphone growth has been hampered by the generally high price and the lack of operator subsidies.
As the rate of smartphone adoption in emerging markets increases, so does the availability of supportive online services.
Putcha recognises “the growth of smartphones in emerging markets will see a corresponding growth in online services such as cloud, storage, and purchasing based on mobile money transactions. OEMs and equipment vendors will also increase their presence in online services.”
Other markets exhibiting a strong smartphone adoption rate include Brazil and Russia.