Global smartphone connection expands, India records 111M
Mobile connections have grown aggressively over the last decade and out of the large number of them, smartphone connections account for over two billion, or two out in three mobile connections, according to GSMA. This number is expected to expand three-fold by 2020, with smartphone connections reaching six billion or two-thirds of the worldwide total of nine billion mobile connections by that time—driven by factors including price erosion and the rise of sub-$50 smartphones.
Currently, Asia Pacific is responsible for about half of global smartphone connections, even though smartphone penetration in the region is currently calculated at below 40 per cent. India ranked fourth with 111 million smartphone connections, with Indonesia following closely with about 95 million. China claimed the lead with over 629 million smartphone connections.
Top ten global smartphone markets, second quarter of 2014. Source: GSMA Intelligence
The developing world overtook the developed world in terms of smartphone connections in 2011 and today accounts for two in every three smartphones on the planet, reported GSMA. It is predicted that by 2020, four out of every five smartphone connections worldwide will come from the developing world.
"The smartphone has sparked a wave of global innovation that has brought new services to millions and efficiencies to businesses of every type," said Hyunmi Yang, Chief Strategy Officer at the GSMA. "As the study...shows, smartphones will be the driving force of mobile industry growth over the next six years, with one billion new smartphone connections expected over the next 18 months alone.
In many developed markets, smartphone penetration is approaching the 70 to 80 per cent 'ceiling' at which growth tends to slow. According to the report, smartphone adoption is forecast to reach 75 per cent in Europe and North America by 2020. Smartphone growth in these two regions has slowed in recent years; smartphone connections grew by 35 per cent in North America and by 39 per cent in Europe between 2010 and 2013, compared to growth rates of over 80 per cent during the period in Asia Pacific and Latin America.
There are a number of factors driving smartphone smartphone adoption in the developing world. First is the rapid erosion of the Average Selling Price (ASP) of smartphones, accelerating user migration from basic and feature phones. First time users steer clear of high-end models, creating demand for inexpensive smartphones—paving the way for the rise of sub-$200, and reality of sub-$50 smartphones.
Also, in developing countries, higher smartphone adoption means improved mobile broadband connections, and this fuels the availability of data tariffs tailored for cost-conscious prepaid consumers. The top five countries worldwide with the highest smartphone adoption rates today (as a percentage of total connections) are Qatar, the UAE, Finland, South Korea and Norway.
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