Analyst: Smartphone user base tops 1B worldwide

The number of smartphones in use worldwide crossed the 1 billion-unit threshold for the first time during the third quarter, according to a new report from research firm Strategy Analytics. And the firm expects the number of smartphones in use globally to top 2 billion in 2015. 

The report noted that it took 16 years for the first billion mark to be achieved. The global installed base of smartphones has surged from an estimated 708 million in the third quarter of 2011 to 959 million in the second quarter of 2012 and 1.038 billion in the third quarter of 2012. 

"We estimate 1 in 7 of the world's population owned a smartphone in the third quarter of 2012," Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston said in a statement. "Smartphone penetration is still relatively low. Most of the world does not yet own a smartphone and there remains huge scope for future growth, particularly in emerging markets such as China, India and Africa."

That the smartphone installed base grew 47 percent year-over-year is an indication of the popularity of the devices not only in mature markets such as the United States and Western Europe but also in emerging markets such as China and Brazil. Indeed, research firm IDC forecast in late August that China will account for 26.5 percent of all smartphone shipments in 2012, compared to 17.8 percent for the United States. 

Strategy Analytics' forecast of smartphone growth over the next few years in consistent with other research firms' reports. IHS iSuppli said in August that smartphones will make up the majority of handset shipments globally in 2013. IHS predicted that in 2013 smartphones will account for 54 percent of the total handset market, up from 46 percent in 2012 and 35 percent in 2011. Smartphones will make up the majority of handset shipments two years earlier than IHS had previously expected.

For more:
- see this release
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this TechCrunch article

Related Articles:
IHS: Smartphones to overtake feature phones in 2013, 2 years earlier than expected
Samsung trounces Apple in Q2 with estimated 50M smartphone sales
Gartner: iOS growth stalls as consumers hold out for iPhone 5
Chipset makers turn to low-cost Chinese smartphones for boost
Nielsen: Half of all American subscribers now own a smartphone