Worldwide mobile phone shipments are set to increase by 6 per cent this year to reach 1.94 billion units, of which 1.28 billion will be smartphones. By 2018, total shipments will amount to 2.29 billion units, of which 1.9 billion will be smartphones.
According to these latest forecasts by CCS Insight, while smartphone shipments have performed better than expected this year, growth has been slower than the 40 per cent rise registered in 2013 due to the saturation of developed markets. Indeed, mature markets in North America and Western Europe are expected to see smartphone growth of 9 per cent and 10 per cent respectively in 2014.
Growth is now focused on emerging markets such as China, South-East Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa. Based on sales this year so far, smartphone shipments in China will exceed 400 million units in 2014, accounting for 93 per cent of total mobile phone shipments in this market.
As shipments slow in mature markets and demand for entry-level devices increases, the average selling price (ASP) has declined for the first time in four years, reaching $160 (€126) in 2014.
"The ASP decline should not come as a surprise. However, it has occurred more quickly than we had predicted. Previously we expected ASP to peak in 2014; we now believe it peaked in 2013 and from now on it will slowly decline unless a major new market disruption--similar to the introduction of the iPhone--takes place," commented CCS Insight.
In terms of LTE, in mature markets well over half of mobile phone shipments in 2014 will be LTE-enabled devices. However, CCS Insight noted that China Mobile saw a disappointing TD-LTE uptake in the first half of the year, and the initial target of 100 million TD-LTE devices for 2014 is no longer regarded as realistic.
"As a result, we have reduced our global expectations for LTE/TD-LTE-enabled mobile phones in 2014 and 2015, but with strong growth in later years we expect sales of this category of device to reach 1.15 billion units, or half of all mobile phone shipments, in 2018," said the research company.
- see this CCS Insight report (sub. req.)
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