The global mobile phone market lost some of its momentum during the Great Recession, with overall shipment numbers declining slightly in 2009. However, sales of smartphones — those devices based on computing platforms — grew rapidly as a percent of the overall market.
By 2010 smartphones had increased their share of the worldwide mobile phone market to more than 20 percent, and within five years, they will represent more than one-third of all handsets sold.
The global cell phone market has been powerfully affected by a number of forces in the 2008 – 2010 period:
- The global recession that started in late 2007 slowed much of the strong growth the market had been experiencing.
- Continued substitution of cell phones for landline telephony in developed nations increased usage and utility of cell phones.
- Expansion of cell phone penetration in developing nations increased overall subscriber counts and sales of low-priced handsets.
- The rapid increase in smartphone penetration increased average cell phone prices, strengthening the balance sheets of vendors.
Scope: This forecast covers the global cell phone market for the period 2011 – 2015.
Regions: The regions covered in this forecast are broken down as follows:
- Americas (including North America, Canada and Latin America)
- Europe (including Eastern and Western Europe)
- The Middle East and Africa
Platforms: Although they have been available for years, smartphones, which use a variety of computing platforms, have swiftly risen to prominence. Much of this sudden upswing can be attributed to the iPhone phenomenon in 2007, which encouraged consumers worldwide to consider using high-end devices to handle an array of applications and capabilities. After languishing in the sub-10-percent range for more than 10 years, global sales of smartphones exploded in 2009 and continued to expand in 2010.
This research focuses on forecasts for cell phones equipped with computing platforms, because of their sudden importance and powerful effect on the overall cell phone market. Forecasts are on a global and regional basis for the most important platforms: Android, Apple iOS, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Mobile. For this research, the generic term “smartphone” refers to a mobile phone using an operating system platform.