Smartphones will make up more than half of all cell phones shipped in 2013, according to a new report from analytics firm IHS iSuppli.
The share of smartphones shipped globally currently stands at 46 percent for 2012, up from 35 percent in 2011. HIS has forecast that the market share of smartphones will rise to 54 percent in 2013.
The jump to majority status occurs two years earlier than predicted by IHS last year. In the 2011 report, smartphones were not expected to surpass the 50 percent mark until 2015.
“Over the past 12 months, smartphones have fallen in price, and a wider variety of models have become available, spurring sales of both low-end smartphones in regions like Asia-Pacific, as well as midrange to high-end phones in the United States and Europe,” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS. More smartphones have also become available on prepaid networks, making them more accessible to a wider range of consumers.
Feature phones, cell phones with some advanced functionality, account for 41 percent of shipped phones this year. The remaining market share is made up of entry-level phones with little functionality other than making calls.
The dominance of smartphones will grow even more pronounced by 2016, the report predicted. By then, smartphones will make up 67.4 percent of the global cell phone market, with 28 percent going to feature phones and just 4.2 percent entry-level phones.
The report also broke down projections for low-end smartphones versus midrange and high-end smartphones. By 2016, 43 percent of smartphones will be of the low-end variety with less memory and “a more limited feature set” and sold primarily in developing countries. Midrange and high-end smartphones will be sold in more industrialized areas to more than 700 million users.