A spate of new flagship smartphone launches in the first half of 2013 from multiple OEMs will lead to an expected doubling in market shipments from 2012 to 2017, according to research firm IHS iSuppli.
According to the report, worldwide smartphone shipments will reach 1.5 billion units in 2017, up from 712 million in 2012. The company says shipments this year are set to rise to 897 million units, up from 712 million in 2012.
In the years that follow, shipments of smartphones will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.8 percent, reaching 1.1 billion units in 2014, followed by 1.2 billion in 2015, and 1.4 billion in 2016.
Wayne Lam, senior analyst for consumer and communications at IHS, said that the volume of new flagship smartphone releases from top original equipment manufacturers (OEM) this year has been exceptional. “These include the new BlackBerry Z10, the aluminum uni-body HTC One, and an update to the Samsung Galaxy S4 featuring a Full HD 5-inch active matrix organic light emitting diode (AMOLED) display,” Lam said in a statement.
The report notes that Apple’s iPhone franchise appears to be stalling as first-quarter shipments of 37.4 million fell below expectations. IHS says that with the next iPhone model not expected until the second half of the year, there is a real possibility that the full-year 2013 sales volume of the iPhone may be essentially flat at around 150 million units, compared to 134 million units in 2012.
“The possible slowing growth of the iPhone and the rapid pace of competitive smartphones releases speak to the ferocious nature of the handset business, especially now as the market continues to pivot from a market dominated by lower-end handsets known as feature phones to one that is increasingly smartphone-centric,” Lam said.
IHS says that all those new phones has led to a crowded market where innovation and differentiation is key to success. The report concludes that features like larger displays and immersive user experiences and visual content important aspects of attracting consumers.