According to Pyramid Research, the smartphone segment is becoming central to the development of the global mobile industry. With mobile subscriptions’ penetration of the population having already surpassed 100% in most developed markets and quickly approaching that mark on a global level, a sign of near market saturation, industry players are focusing on mobile data as the main revenue growth source for the future.
Following a sluggish start when mainly targeted at business users, they have witnessed exploding sales in recent years, especially since the introduction of Apple’s iPhone in 2007. The iPhone delivered a landmark consumer-focused user experience and changed the way the industry did business. Further contributing to the smartphone segment’s sky-rocketing growth, the launch of Google’s Android open source operating system in 2008 enabled smartphones to reach the mass market, with more handset makers being able to enter the segment with a similar user experience.
Key Findings of Pyramid Research´s Report:
Following a period of decreasing handset sales in 2008-2009, the global handset industry is growing once again, propelled by the accelerating smartphone segment and by strong emerging markets demand. Pyramid Research expects global handset sales to expand at a 7% CAGR between 2010 and 2015, moving from 1.33bn to 1.86bn devices.
The stunning expansion of the smartphone segment has been driven by increasing popularity of these devices in consumer segments. This was first caused by the arrival of the iPhone and further boosted by Android-powered devices, which enabled smartphones to be offered at lower price points and is making smartphones the mass market device of choice. We expect these devices to continuing coming down the price ladder, becoming increasingly available to lower-income tiers and emerging markets, which will boost sales.
The OS is one of the most important differentiating factors within the smartphone segment, given its central role in the handset usability experience. A renewed OS approach to handset usability gave new mobile handset entrant Apple an edge over its competitors. The importance of the OS has also enabled software companies to take a prominent role in an industry so far dominated by handset vendors.