Device Barriers to Developing Market Internet Access Falling Fast

Though Apple will continue to sell at the high end of the smartphone market, volume will come in emerging markets, for devices costing less than US$100. That, in turn, will drive Internet access in emerging markets.

The rapid emergence of the sub-$100 smartphone category is one illustration of falling barriers to Internet usage in developing markets.

"The future of smartphones lies in emerging markets, sub-US$100 price points, and phablets," said Melissa Chau, International Data Corp. senior research manager. "In 2014, 73 percent of smartphones were shipped to emerging markets, 21 percent were priced below US$100, and 12 percent had screen sizes between 5.5 and seven inches.

By 2019, 80 percent of smartphones will be shipped to emerging markets, 35 percent will be priced below US$100, and 32 percent will have a 5.5-inch to 7-inch screen size.

As recently as 2010, PCs still made up the lion's share of the total “smart connected device” market, with the combined desktop and notebook categories accounting for almost 53 percent of shipments compared to nearly 45 percent for smartphones and three percent for tablets.

By 2014, smartphones had grown to represent almost 73 percent of total shipments, while PCs had slipped to nearly 17 percent and tablets had increased to about 13 percent.

By 2019, IDC expects the distribution to be nearly 78 percent smartphones, almost 12 percent PCs, and about 11 percent tablets.

Some 28.7 million mobile phones were shipped in Vietnam in 2014, representing 13 percent year over year growth.

Smartphones represented 41 percent of all mobile phones shipped to Vietnam in 2014, or 11.6 million units, and are expected to eclipse feature phones in 2015.

Smartphone sales grew 57 percent in 2014, International Data Corp. says. As is the case elsewhere in Asia, lower-priced smartphones are driving the trend.

"The low-cost segment has been the main driver, with six out of ten smartphones as budget models priced below US$150 are shipped to Vietnam," said " Võ Lê Tâm Thanh, IDC senior market analyst.
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