As smartphone prices start coming down, global sales of these must-have personal device continue to grow rapidly. Juniper Research, in its Smartphone Markets: Trends, Shares & Forecasts 2014-2019, predicts 1.2 billion smartphones to be sold this year, marking a 19% increase from 985 million sold last year with Apple and Samsung expected to take up nearly 45% of the market share.
According to Juniper, the entry of cheaper handsets from OEMs from countries like China sees a bigger chunk of world population now being able to afford a smartphone. Given the widespread availability of high speed mobile data services, and the increasing dependence on rich mobile services, including video, gaming and m-commerce services among today's consumers, demand for smartphones from all classes of customers is expected to rise steadily over the next few years. Smartphone vendors have responded to this demand by producing price-based classes of smartphones, ranging from the Ultra-Premium category which features players such as Apple and Samsung to low-cost Economy category which features handsets priced between USD75 to USD150 and the Ultra-Economy smartphones, priced below USD75.
Juniper said that the ability to offer competitively priced smartphones, for example, Xiaomi smartphones which have captured China's market and which have recently made successful entry to India's market, has led to more vendors leveraging on price-sensitivity among customers to push newer smartphone brands. These new comers are quickly building their brand presence and are expected to eat into other customer segments, including households which use more than a couple of smartphones, students and low income groups.
Juniper expects the emerging markets to continue driving smartphones sales in near future, and predicts that by 2019, the average price of smartphones will fall to USD274.