As the worldwide mobile phone market grows in 2012, smartphones are projected to see an increase of sales of about 40% while feature phones will see a decline of about 10%.
According to market-research firm IDC, vendors will ship approximately 1.8 billion mobile phones this year, and are predicted to ship 2.3 billion phones by the end of 2016. Compared to last year, shipments only increased from 1.7 billion phones thanks in part to a sharp decline in feature phone sales.
Sales of feature phones - or "talk and text" devices - have declined partly because of job uncertainty and economic worries. IDC believes that individuals are holding on to their feature phones because of these issues. Despite the drop in sales, non-smartphones will still comprise 61.6% of the total mobile phone market this year.
In comparison, smartphones will see an increase of about 38.8% to 686 million units this year. The high demand for smartphones is being fueled by high carriers subsidies, falling average selling prices, and lower-cost data plans among other factors.
Five-Year Projection for Mobile Operating Systems
IDC projects that Android will remain the most shipped smartphone operating system by 2016, peaking in 2012. Most of its sales and growth will be driven by Samsung. IDC predicts Android having a 2012 market share of 61% while having a 52.9% market share in 2016.
Currently second with a 20.5% market share in 2012, IDC believes that iOS will experience a small decline by 2016, ending the five-year projection with a market share of 19.0%.
The boldest projection from IDC relates to Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile. The company projects that Microsoft's mobile operating system will become the second most popular one in the market by 2016, slightly surpassing Apple iOS with a market share of 19.2%. It's predicted that Windows Phone will have a market share of about 5.2% this year.
Both BlackBerry OS and Symbian continue to experience market woes. IDC expects that the BlackBerry OS will decrease its market share from 2012 of 6.0% to 5.9% in 2016. Meanwhile, this market-analysis firm expects that Symbian-powered smartphones shipments to cease by 2014.
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