This IDC study presents the five-year forecast for mobile phone shipments worldwide. The worldwide mobile phone market will reach a total of 1,832.3 million units, inclusive of smartphones, shipped in 2013, resulting in a 5.5% increase from the 1,736.3 million units shipped in 2012. Driving volumes forward will be an increasing emphasis on smartphones, further penetration into emerging markets, and ongoing replacements on a worldwide basis. Looking ahead to 2017, IDC believes that total mobile phone shipments will reach 2,281.4 million units worldwide, resulting in a CAGR of 5.6% from 2013 to 2017.
"The worldwide mobile phone market is poised for slow and certain growth, but the profile of the market is changing," says Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's Mobile Phones team. "Voice connectivity has always been the cornerstone of mobile telephony, but the proliferation of 3G and 4G takes the experience into data transmission and consumption. Consequently, we expect 3G mobile phones to make up a growing majority share of the overall market while 4G mobile phones grow at a faster rate than the overall market.
Llamas continues, "2G and 2.5G mobile phones will still have a presence in the market, albeit a shrinking one. Still, mobile phones running on these older technologies will not disappear overnight, as the demand for voice-only mobile phones will remain relevant throughout the forecast."