Global smartphone shipments are expected to increase 30 percent to 898 million units this year from 689 million units last year with the penetration rate reaching about 50 percent, Fubon Securities Co (富邦證券) analysts said.
“Given that smartphone penetration has hit the 40 percent mark, we expect the growth rate of global smartphone shipments to increase at a slower pace. It’s likely that global smartphone penetration will reach between 60 and 70 percent in the next five years,” Fubon equity analyst Jeff Pu (蒲得宇) said in a recent report.
Fubon forecast that China and emerging markets will be the main growth drivers because of their wide 3G coverage and that increasing number of 3G users.
For instance, 3G smartphone shipments to China could grow 49 percent to 260 million units this year from 175 million units last year, it said.
However, considering that consumers from these markets tend to purchase low and middle-end models, the overall average selling price of smartphones is expected to decrease this year from last year, the report said.
By region, Fubon forecast smartphone shipments to Latin American countries will increase 94 percent this year from last year, followed by Asia-Pacific countries (excluding Japan) with 41 percent growth, Middle East countries with 25 percent and growth for East European countries 9 percent.
In contrast, shipments to North American countries, Western European countries and Japan would increase 16 percent, 12 percent and 6 percent respectively, the report said.
Both Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co are expected to maintain their leading positions in the market, especially in the high-end sector.
HTC Corp (宏達電) may grab back at least 5 percent of the market share as the company continues to adjust its product mix, adopt new marketing strategies and improve sales channels to expand revenue, Fubon said.
For high-end smartphones, Fubon forecast handsets supporting 4G long-term evolution (LTE) technology would continue to grow as telecommunications carriers expand LTE coverage.
According to statistics compiled by market researchers Gartner Inc and IHS iSuppli, the number of 4G LTE smartphone users could reach 746 million by 2015, accounting for about 10 percent of total mobile device users.
For this year, Fubon forecast the number of global 4G LTE smartphone users will increase by 151 million people from last year.