Smartphones will outpace feature phones in 2013

nexus4-ceSmartphones have become so affordable and readily available in all markets that they are finally expected to outsell feature phones this year. It is not a “nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition” sort of thing, since smartphone shipments have gone from strength to strength for years.

IDC’s latest report forecasts that 918.6 million smartphones will be shipped this year, accounting for 50.1 percent of all mobile phone shipments.

The research outfit says it based its predictions on falling prices of smartphones and increased consumer interest, which probably has something to do with the fact that smartphones are getting dirt cheap. With 4G services being rolled out in major markets, IDC expects smartphone shipments to hit 1.5 billion units by 2017.

China is expected to be the biggest market in 2013, as IDC estimates it will gobble up 301.2 million smartphones. The US ranks second with 137.5 million, way ahead of the UK and Japan, tied in third place with 35 million, reports The Next Web

The BRIC march continues in fifth and sixth spot, which will go to Brazil and India respectively. However, by 2017 India will rank third and consume 155.6 million smartphones. Brazil will see plenty of growth as well, going from 28.9 million to 66.3 million units by 2017.

In other words, smartphone makers will have to start designing more devices with emerging markets in mind, which means we might see a bit more emphasis on value moving forward.