Smartphone Growth Shifts to Asia, Africa, Latin America

By 2019, the number of smartphone subscribers globally will have grown 2.5 times over the 2012 level, driven primarily by customers in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa (MEA), and Latin America, according to Forrester Research.

These three regions, which are home to 84 percent of the world’s population, will contribute a significant proportion of the next 2.5 billion smartphone subscribers.

Asia Pacific is the fastest-growing region in terms of subscribers with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14 percent, followed by MEA and Latin America.

As you would guess, introduction of low-cost smartphones is fueling the change in adoption patterns.

Chinese companies such as iocean, JiaYu, Meizu, Xiaomi, and Zopo and Indian players like Karbon and Micromax are flooding the market with sub-$200 Android-based smartphones, Forrester Research notes.

More than 46 percent of mobile subscribers owned a smartphone in 2013, compared with nine percent in 2009. By 2019, Forrester Research expects that 85 percent of all mobile subscribers will have smartphones.

India now is the fastest-growing market for smartphones. Gionee, Huawei, Konka, Lenovo, Xiaomi, and ZTE have recently entered the market, and Google launched its Android One program in partnership with Indian companies to provide sub-$100 Android phones.

Android and iOS have the lead in mobile operating systems, but Windows Phone is picking up, Forrester Research says.

As a direct result, mobile Internet access will drive global 45 percent of total mobile service revenue  in 2014, according to ABI Research.

Service revenue for 2014 will grow three percent to US$1.01 trillion, mainly driven by the robust growth of the mobile Internet market, ABI Research says.

The proportion of Internet access instances originating from mobile devices will vastly outnumber fixed network access, including both fixed networks and Wi-Fi, by 2018, Cisco now forecasts.
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