"This represents a major upgrade for the outlook compared to a year ago, when smartphones weren’t expected to take the lead until 2015. Over the past 12 months, smartphones have fallen in price, and a wider variety of models (has) become available, spurring sales of both low-end smartphones in regions like Asia-Pacific, as well as midrange to high-end phones in the United States and Europe."-Wayne Lam, IHS senior analyst
The popularity of smartphones cannot be denied. Despite the kind of economy that makes grown men cry, the smartphone industry has actually seen growth in the last few years. A new report from IHS indicates that smartphones will make up half of all mobile phones by 2013
. That is a good two years earlier than previous estimates from IHS made last year. In 2011 smartphones accounted for 35% of all mobile handsets, but lower prices and a wide variety of models have led to the expansion in sales of low-end smartphones in the Asia Pacific region and a surge in sales of mid to high-end smartphones in the U.S. and Europe.
IHS breaks down the mobile phone industry into three separate divisions. First, there are smartphones followed by feature phones, and lastly you have your low-priced, basic models. IHS senior analyst Wayne Lam expects smartphones to be in the hands of more people than featurephones this year, but will fall short of the 50% mark. That milestone should be topped in 2013 and by 2016 the analyst sees smartphones accounting for two-thirds of the market.