Smartphone market set to boom by 2014

The smartphone market will climb to 37% of global handset sales in 2014 with emerging markets as the key growth engine, calling on operators and vendors to make the most of the opportunity, according to the latest report from Pyramid Research, the telecom research arm of the Light Reading Communications Network.

Pyramid estimates that smartphones will account for a growing share of total handset sales, expanding from 16% in 2009 to 37% in 2014, and will represent an enormous sales opportunity for vendors and service providers across the globe, particularly in emerging markets, notes Omar Salvador, senior analyst at Pyramid Research and lead author of the report.

“Although the US continues to lead the globe in 2009 in smartphone sales, Pyramid expects China to capture the number one position in 2010, driven by operators’ aggressive promotion of smartphones using wider portfolios, more attractive pricing for services and new initiatives,” said Salvador.

“Brazil, India, Turkey, and Nigeria will be the fastest growing markets over the next five years with CAGRs of 43%, 39%, 37%, and 34%, respectively. Latin America will be the fastest growing region at a compound annual growth rate of 48%, followed by Africa and the Middle East with a 39 %CAGR,” he added.

“With smartphone and data ARPS growth at the centre of the strategies of operators and handset vendors, the two will need to work together to make the most of the opportunity,” added Salvador. “Understanding local conditions will be vital for operators, smartphone vendors, and OS developers, as operator strategies differ substantively across markets based on the method of payment (post paid or pre paid), the prevalence of subsidies, the level of competition, as well as the market shares of operating systems,” he explained.

The report examines the state of the global smartphone market today, focusing on operator and vendor strategies. It also looks at the intense struggle for market dominance among the various software platforms: Symbian, BlackBerry OS, iPhone OS, Windows Mobile, Android, and Palm’s various systems.