China to Overtake United States in Smartphone Shipments in 2012, According to IDC
30 Aug 2012
Mass., August 30, 2012 – Strong end-user demand and an appetite for
lower-priced smartphones will make China (PRC) the largest market for
smartphones this year, overtaking the United States as the global leader in
smartphone shipments. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, China will account for 26.5% of all
smartphone shipments in 2012, compared to 17.8% for the United States.
ahead, the PRC smartphone market will continue to be lifted by the sub-US$200
Android segment," said Wong Teck-Zhung,
senior market analyst, Client Devices, IDC Asia/Pacific. "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. Carrier-subsidized and
customized handsets from domestic vendors will further support the migration to
smartphones and boost shipments. Looking ahead to the later years in the
forecast, the move to 4G networks will be another growth catalyst."
we expect smartphone demand to flow down to lower-tier cities," added James Yan,
senior market analyst for Computing Systems Research at IDC China. "After
going through a period of sustained high growth, top-tier cities are likely to
see decelerating smartphone growth rates. In contrast, secondary cities are
expected to experience accelerated smartphone growth, with strong demand for
low-cost models as well as high-end models, which are desired as status
"The fact that China will overtake the United
States in smartphone shipments does not mean that the U.S. smartphone market is
grinding to a halt," said
senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Technology
and Trends program. "Now that smartphones represent the majority of
mobile phone shipments, growth is expected to continue, but at a slower pace.
There is still a market for first-time users as well as thriving upgrade
"In addition to China and the United States,
several other countries will emerge as key markets for smartphone shipment
volume over the next five years," said
Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker
program. "High-growth countries such as Brazil and Russia will become some
of the most hotly contested markets as vendors seek to capture new customers
and market share."
Top Five Markets for
As it becomes the leading country for smartphone
shipments this year, the PRC smartphone market will continue to grow,
primarily on demand for lower-cost handsets. While this bodes well from a
volume perspective, it also means lower average sales values (ASVs), thinner
margins, and increased competition from all players. Over the course of the
forecast, China's share of the global smartphone market will decline somewhat
as smartphone adoption accelerates in other emerging markets.
Smartphone shipments into the United States will increase
as users upgrade their devices and feature-phone users switch over to
smartphones. Furthermore, a combination of lower-priced models, expansion of 4G
networks, and the proliferation of shared data plans will encourage continued smartphone
adoption. Smartphones are already the device of choice at the major carriers,
and regional and prepaid carriers are following suit and competing with
alternative service plans.
smartphone penetration in India currently
among the lowest in Asia/Pacific, the market has tremendous untapped growth
potential. Low-end smartphones offering dual-SIM capability and local apps and
priced around US$100 will rapidly bring this market to life. Although 3G data plans
are currently too expensive for the majority of consumers in India, IDC expects
the popularization of 3G, and in later years 4G, to drive smartphone uptake as
operators roll out more affordable data plans and generous subsidies while
expanding offerings to tier 2 and tier 3 cities. The affordability of service
plans will be another important key to smartphone adoption in India.
Smartphone growth in Brazil
will be bolstered by strategic investments by mobile operators, smartphone
vendors, and regulators. Operators' focus on increasing ARPU will drive greater
demand for smartphones while smartphone vendors will look to reap greater
profitability from offering such devices. The Brazilian government, meanwhile,
will offer tax exemptions for smartphones and protect local manufacturing
against foreign vendors. These factors, combined with solid end-user demand,
will drive smartphone volumes in the coming years.
The United Kingdom has been one of the
fastest growing smartphone markets in Western Europe, driven by the high
operator subsidies and long-term post-paid contracts. Over the forecast period,
smartphone shipments will continue to increase due to the introduction of LTE
and a new range of services that will appeal to heavy smartphone users. In
addition, price erosion on HSPA devices will also attract feature phones users.
Growth rates will slow in the later years of the forecast as penetration
plateaus and operators seek out alternative subsidy models.
Five Smartphone Markets and Market Share for 2011, 2012, and 2016 (based on
- 2016 CAGR
IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, 2012 Q2 Forecast Release, August 30 2012
Note: Countries listed in terms of ranking in 2016.
Chart: 2011, 2012 and 2016 Smartphone Shipment Market Share, Top 5 CountriesDescription: Tags: Author: IDCcharts powered by iCharts
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more information about IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, please
contact Kathy Nagamine at 650-350-6423 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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