Worldwide Mobile Phone Growth Expected to Drop to 1.4% in 2012 Despite Continued Growth Of Smartphones, According to IDC

©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.

IDG IDC

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.  – The worldwide mobile phone market is forecast to grow 1.4% year over year in 2012, the lowest annual growth rate in three years despite a projected record number of smartphone shipments in the high-volume holiday season. According to the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors will ship more than 1.7 billion mobile phones this year. In 2016, IDC forecasts 2.2 billion mobile phones will be shipped to the channel.

Global smartphone volume in the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12) is expected to reach 224.5 million units, representing 39.5% year-over-year growth due primarily to strong consumer demand. For the year, smartphone shipments are forecast to grow 45.1% year over year to 717.5 million units. Strong smartphone growth is a result of a variety of factors, including steep device subsidies from carriers, especially in mature economic markets where carriers resell the majority of smartphones, as well as a growing array of sub-US$250 smartphones in emerging markets.

“Sluggish economic conditions worldwide have cast a pall over the mobile phone market this year,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “However, the fourth quarter will be relatively bright due in part to sales of high-profile smartphones, such as the iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S3, in addition to lower-cost Android-powered smartphones shipped to China and other high-growth emerging markets.”

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