The company forecasts that by 2016 global annual smart phone shipments will be around 1.2 billion units, meaning a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 19.5 percent. Apple’s new iPhone 5, due soon, is attracting extraordinary interest and competitors have also made several major announcements in the past week, including Windows 8 devices from Nokia and Samsung; new Android smart phones from Sony, Motorola and Samsung; and Amazon's enhanced Kindle Fire tablets.
Although these announcements have attracted the headlines, Canalys says that the trends across pads and smart phones in various countries will be markedly different. In smart phones, Canalys expects Asia Pacific to remain the largest region by volume, with annual shipments reaching 594 million by 2016. China will account for almost half of all shipments in the region and nearly a quarter of the world's smart phones in 2016. This equates to only 10 million less than is forecast to ship in the whole of the Americas in that year.
The report says there will be a substantial increase in the number of first-time smart phone users in China over the next 12 months, while feature phone shipments will continue to decline. China’s domestic feature phone vendors are rapidly moving their businesses to smart phones, supported by low-cost solutions from chipset providers, such as MediaTek, Spreadtrum and Qualcomm’s QRD.
“We anticipate strong demand from local Chinese vendors selling in both operator and open channels,” says Nicole Peng, Canalys Research Director for China. “Chipset vendors are reporting growing momentum in 2.5G smartphones. For less developed areas where 3G coverage is limited, 2.5G smart phones have advantages in cost and battery life.
In terms of percentage growth, Canalys expects Latin America to move fastest, with a CAGR to 2016 of 27.3 percent. It forecasts good double-digit growth in all countries, but Brazil and Mexico will account for more than half of all shipments in the region.
Globally, Canalys expects Android to remain dominant, with more than half of the smartphones shipped in 2016 (up from 49 percent in 2011). It expects Apple’s share of this much larger market to remain similar to today, at around 18 percent. Microsoft is expected to make inroads over the coming years.