A new report suggests that China now accounts for 22 per cent of global smartphone shipments, making it the biggest single market for these devices. But despite increasing subscribers, service revenues still lag those from the US. Guy Daniels reports.
According to a new research study by Canalys of global smartphone shipments, China has overtaken the US to become the world’s largest single market for these devices. During the first quarter of 2012, Canalys has estimated that total shipments worldwide grew 45 per cent year-on-year to 146 million units However, there are significant country and regional differences.
Shipments in China doubled and overtook those in the US for the first time. The research suggests that China accounted for 22 per cent of global smart phone shipments, while the US accounted for 16 per cent (and a mere 5 per cent growth) – a reversal of the situation a year ago. Of the top 10 countries for smartphones, half are now in the Asia Pacific region, which experienced 81 per cent growth year-on-year.
Nicole Peng, Canalys Research Director for China, said the arrival of the iPhone helped boost volume and raised Apple’s share to 19 per cent, although Samsung remains the top seller with a 22 per cent share:
“Samsung expanded its smart phone business substantially through its existing mobile phone channels. Its wide range of localised devices helped increase uptake across all carriers, and it combined this with significant marketing spend to drive consumer awareness.”
Nokia slipped to third place, with local vendors ZTE, Huawei and Lenovo following close behind with their competitively-priced Android smartphones, although they are now also starting to target the higher end of the market.
Canalys believes more than a quarter of all Android smartphone shipments globally are now in China.
In a separate report, research company Ovum expects smartphone shipments to growth at 25 per cent CAGR to reach 1.7 billion in 2017 and Android to dominate as the OS of choice. Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum, said:
“While Apple has defined the smartphone market since it introduced the iPhone in 2007, we’re now seeing a sharp rise in the shipment volumes of Android, signalling its appeal to leading handset manufacturers. But although it will remain behind Android in terms of shipment volumes, Apple will continue to be a key player and innovator in the smartphone market over the forecast period. We expect Microsoft, despite its slow start, to have established Windows Phone as a relevant smartphone platform by 2017.”
Smartphones based on Android accounted for 44% of the smartphone market in 2011, significantly up from 17% in 2010. However, its
Ovum believes Android’s share of the smartphone market will reach 48 per cent in 2017, with Apple's iOS the second most widely deployed software platform at 27 per cent, and the Windows Phone platform third with 13 per cent. BlackBerry will follow at 10 per cent.
Independent analyst Chetan Sharma released some new data of his own this week, showing that the total number of global mobile subscriptions is expected to exceed 7 Billion by early 2013. With China now accounting for over one billion subscribers, he says that subscriber growth will remain in Asia, although the main revenue growth will be seen in both Asia and North America.
Whilst China and India represent 27 per cent of subscriptions, they only represent 12 per cent of service revenues – whereas the US represents only 6 per cent of subscriptions but 21 per cent of revenues. He adds that total global mobile revenues will reach $1.5 trillion this year, the equivalent of over 2 per cent of global GDP.
“The primary growth drivers are India and China which are cumulatively adding 75 million new subs every quarter. China became the first country to eclipse the 1 billion mark in March 2012. India is likely to arrive at the milestone by early 2013.”
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