According to CCS Insight’s new market forecast, over 6.6 billion mobile phones will be in use by the end of 2017, two thirds of which will be smartphones, up from less than 25% in 2012.
In Q1 2013, smartphone shipments exceeded those of non-smartphones for the first time ever. This year will end with 1.86 billion mobile phones shipped, of which 53% will be smartphones.
More than 50% of mobile phones in use in Western Europe and North America are already smartphones, and CCS Insight predicts this figure will grow to more than 80% in 2015. However, beyond 2015 – much of the growth will come from emerging markets.
Tablet are also rising at a staggering rate. Altogether, global shipments of smartphones AND tablets will increase 2.5 times between 2012 and 2017, reaching 2.1 billion units.
Despite the strong growth there’s no room for complacency with even dominant operating systems like Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android facing challenges in the times to come. Apple on its will struggle to keep up with overall smartphone market growth, particularly as that growth shifts toward emerging markets. On the other hand, there are Windows Phone and BlackBerry, as well as number of nascent and upcoming platforms like Firefox OS, Sailfish, Ubuntu and Tizen, all of which are/will be hustling to grab a share of the market.
Finally, the research firm expects sales of 4G devices to grow tenfold between 2012 and 2017, to 650 million units, with almost half of them going to emerging markets in 2017…