Threshold for wide scale Smartphone reach and acceptance
The mobile communications market has been experiencing a global upswing. Smartphones, in particular, are appealing to even more consumers. This year, it is anticipated that around 400 million smartphones will be sold around the world. Above all, in Western industrialized nations, this boom is occurring at the expense of feature phones, which do not offer the diverse range of smartphone functions. Juniper in its latest research, forecasts that the number of global smartphone shipments will reach one billion per annum in 2016, up from 302 million in 2010.
The global mobile communications market is currently in a period of transition from standard mobile phones to multimedia devices, which make accessing the internet easy and appealing. Consequently, it is important that manufacturers position themselves as innovative smartphone providers to avoid being trapped in the stagnant declining feature phones market, which also generates weaker sales on the whole. In the first half of 2011, the number of smartphones sold noticeably increased in Western industrialized countries and Asia in particular. The share of overall sales of these devices in South-East Asia and China (including Taiwan and Hong Kong) already stands at 22% and 29% respectively. As a result of lower purchasing power and the focus of infrastructure networks on vocal transmission, the share of sales attributable to smartphones in emerging and developing states is lower, at less than 10% in India and below 15% in sub-Saharan African countries. The majority of sales in these regions are still generated by feature phones.
Industry and network operators are expanding their range for consumers who are looking for a smartphone in the entry-level segment; this includes offering comparably cheap models, affordable monthly flat rates for mobile internet access and prepaid services. At the same time, the Android open operating system has further increased its market share, with almost 43% of smartphones sold in June 2011 using this system. Android has also removed entry barriers for new operators; this has resulted in a rapidly expanding diversity of products and intense competition, which ultimately leads to falling prices. Juniper expects 42% smartphone sales in 2015 from under the $150 price smartphones. The availability of low cost smartphones in this price bracket will be the smartphones big push into volumes and this will especially be true for South East Asian Economies. The operator subsidies in lieu of data and voice usage and lock in period with the Operator is expected to further sweeten the Smartphone proposition for users.
With growing interest in online data storage, known as “cloud computing”, Mobile internet access will become increasingly popular due to the modern, high-performance 4G networks.