More smartphones are forecast to be shipped globally than feature phones in 2013, the first such occurrence in the mobile phone market on an annual basis. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors will ship 918.6 million smartphones this year, or 50.1% of the total mobile phone shipments worldwide.
Smartphone prices have fallen globally, the smartphone strata are wider than ever, and the roll-out of data-centric fourth-generation (4G) wireless networks are three factors that have made these "do-it-all" devices an increasingly attractive option for users. By the end of 2017, IDC forecasts 1.5 billion smartphones will be shipped worldwide, which equates to just over two-thirds of the total mobile phone forecast for the year due to these primary factors.
To date, much of the world's smartphone shipments were a direct result of demand in mature economies. The balance of smartphone demand is gradually shifting; however, to emerging markets where smartphone user bases are still relatively small and economic prospects are considerably higher, IDC said.