August 30, 2012

IDC: Android-Crazy China Passes U.S. As Smartphone Leader, But India’s Growing The Fastest


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.”

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