The latest figures out from IDC confirm that this is the year that China will overtake the U.S. as the world’s biggest smartphone market, with its 25.5% share a significant lead over the U.S.’s 17.8%. The tipping point has been a long time coming: China is the world’s most-populated country, so it was only a matter of time before it would overtake the U.S. But the trend has been accelerated in the last couple of years with the rise of cheap sub-$200 devices built on Android.
But when it comes to growth, it’s another booming Eastern economy that is leading the pack: India, which this year will only account for 2.5% of all smartphones shipped and sold, is growing at a rate of over 57% in the next several years: but that still will only give it an 8.5% share by 2016. IDC notes that India has one of the lowest smartphone penetration rates in the region.
The trend for cheap, Android-based devices will continue to drive growth at China, too, which will see its share expand at a rate of 26.2%.
If anything the price is going to come down ever more: “Near-term prices in the low-end segment will come down to US$100 and below as competition for market share intensifies among smartphone vendors,” writes Wong Teck-Zhung, senior market analyst, Client Devices, IDC Asia/Pacific.
He believes that carrier subsidies and strong domestic vendors will continue to persist as trends in the market, too, and he believes 4G will be “another growth catalyst.”