Smartphone Prices Race to the Bottom as Emerging Markets Outside of China Come into the Spotlight for Future Growth, According to IDC

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Singapore and London, February 24, 2014 – Emerging markets have become the center of attention when talking about present and future smartphone growth. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, in 2013 the worldwide smartphone market surpassed 1 billion units shipped, up from 752 million in 2012.  This boom has been mainly powered by the China market, which has tripled in size over the last three years.  China accounted for one out of every three smartphones shipped around the world in 2013, equaling 351 million units.

Recently the surge in growth has started to slow as smartphones already account for over 80% of China's total phone sales.  The next half billion new smartphone customers will increasingly come mainly from poorer emerging markets, notably India and in Africa.  

"The China boom is now slowing," said Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager for mobile devices at IDC Asia/Pacific.  "China is becoming like more mature markets in North America and Western Europe, where smartphone sales growth is slackening off." 

Emerging markets in Asia/Pacific outside of China, together with the Middle East and Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America, account for four fifths of the global feature phone market, according to IDC data. "This is a very big market opportunity," said Simon Baker, Program Manager for mobile phones at IDC CEMA.  "Some 660 million feature phones were shipped last year, which could add two thirds to the size of the current global smartphone market." 

India will be key to future smartphone growth as it represents more than a quarter of the global feature phone market. "Growth in the India market doesn't rely on high-end devices like the iPhone, but in low-cost Android phones. Nearly half of the smartphones shipped in India in 2013 cost less than US$120," said Kiranjeet Kaur, Senior Market Analyst for mobile phones at IDC Asia/Pacific.

"Converting feature phone sales to smartphone sales implies a relentless push towards low cost," added Baker. IDC research shows nearly half the mobile handsets sold across the world have retail prices of less than US$100 without sales tax. Two thirds of those have prices of less than US$50.

"The opportunity gets larger the lower the price falls," continued Baker. "If you take retail prices without sales tax, in 2013 nearly three quarters of the US$100-125 price tier was already accounted for by smartphones. Within US$75-100 the proportion was down to just over half, and between $50-75 it was not much more than a third."

Many smartphone vendors have begun gearing up for this next wave of cost pressure. Samsung is increasingly switching production to Vietnam, where manufacturing costs currently undercut mainland China. Even Hon Hai, one of the largest contract manufacturers for handsets in China, has announced plans for a plant in Indonesia to furnish a lower production cost base.

In addition to the table below, an interactive graphic showing worldwide sub-$100 feature phone shipments by region is available here. The chart is intended for public use in online news articles and social media. Instructions on how to embed this graphic can be found by viewing this press release on IDC.com. 

 



Figure 1
 

 

 

 

 

This chart is intended for public use in online news articles and social media. Instructions on how to embed this graphic are available by clicking here.

For more information about IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, please contact Kathy Nagamine at +1-650-350-6423 or knagamine@idc.com.

About IDC Trackers

IDC Tracker products provide accurate and timely market size, vendor share, and forecasts for hundreds of technology markets from more than 100 countries around the globe. Using proprietary tools and research processes, IDC's Trackers are updated on a semiannual, quarterly, and monthly basis. Tracker results are delivered to clients in user-friendly excel deliverables and on-line query tools. The IDC Tracker Charts app allows users to view data charts from the most recent IDC Tracker products on their iPhone and iPad.

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. IDC helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based decisions on technology purchases and business strategy. More than 1,000 IDC analysts provide global, regional, and local expertise on technology and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. In 2014, IDC celebrates its 50th anniversary of providing strategic insights to help clients achieve their key business objectives. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. You can learn more about IDC by visiting www.idc.com.

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Companies Covered:

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., Samsung

Regions Covered:

Singapore, Worldwide

Topics Covered:

Feature phone, Smartphone



Contact

For more information, contact:

Melissa Chau
melissachau@idc.com
+65 6829 7713


Simon Baker
sbaker@idc.com
+7 495 974 7747


Kiranjeet Kaur
kkaur@idc.com
+65 6829 7776