Global Smartphone Shipments to Surpass Basic and Feature Phones in 2013, According to NPD DisplaySearch

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Smartphone screen sizes and LTE-enabled devices on the rise.

Figure 1: Worldwide Mobile Phone Shipment Forecast

The smartphone is not only becoming a must-have device, but is satisfying many needs that formerly required other computing and consumer electronics devices.

Global smartphone shipments will surpass shipments of basic and feature phones for the first time in 2013. According to the latest Smartphone Quarterly from NPD DisplaySearch, global smartphone shipments are expected to reach 937 million units in 2013, compared to just 889 million units for basic phones and feature phones. Between 2011 and 2016, smartphone shipments will grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 26%, to 1.45 billion units, which will account for two-thirds of the mobile phone market.

”The global smartphone market is expected to continue growing rapidly over the next two years,” said Shawn Lee, research director at NPD DisplaySearch. “With larger, higher-resolution displays, faster processors, and higher-capacity cellular systems being built, the smartphone is not only becoming a must-have device, but is satisfying many needs that formerly required other computing and consumer electronics devices.”

Emerging markets are driving most of the smartphone growth, due in large part to better download speeds as networks are upgraded to 3G and 4G. In these markets, entry-level smartphones priced below $200 are gaining momentum. China leads in the entry-level smartphone category, comprising 55% of shipments. China is also the largest market for smartphones as a whole, and the Asia-Pacific region will account for over 50% of smartphone shipments in 2013.

At the high end of the market, LTE-enabled smartphones will reach 23% market share in 2013, according to NPD DisplaySearch. As this segment of the global smartphone market grows, demand for several key features will increase as well. Shipments of AMOLED and LTPS LCD panels for full high-definition (FHD) resolution smartphones are forecast to increase significantly, from 1.7 million units in 2012 to 113 million units in 2013.

“To increase revenue share and gain margin in the smartphone market, a variety of new handsets, as well as new products launched by service and content providers, will enter the market,” Lee said. “As smartphone specifications and features become more advanced, and as device replacement rates increase, we can expect further investment in the industry by manufacturers, carriers, and governments.”

Screen sizes are also changing with the market. In 2013, more than half (57%) of smartphone displays will range between 4-5", while screens larger than 5" will grow to 16% of the market. Panel makers are increasing production of smartphone displays in larger-generation LCD factories to meet the demand for these larger panels.

For more detailed information on shifts in the smartphone market, contact Charles Camaroto about the Smartphone Quarterly, or contact your regional NPD DisplaySearch office in China, Japan, Korea, or Taiwan.

About NPD DisplaySearch
NPD DisplaySearch, part of The NPD Group, provides global market research and consulting specializing in the display supply chain, including trend information, forecasts and analyses developed by a global team of experienced analysts with extensive industry knowledge. NPD DisplaySearch supply chain expertise complements sell-through information from The NPD Group, thereby providing a true end-to-end view of the display supply chain from materials and components to shipments of electronic devices with displays to sales of major consumer and commercial channels. For more information, visit us at Read our blog at and follow us on Twitter at @DisplaySearch.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group provides global information and advisory services to drive better business decisions. By combining unique data assets with unmatched industry expertise, we help our clients track their markets, understand consumers, and drive profitable growth. Sectors covered include automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, entertainment, fashion, food/foodservice, home, luxury, mobile, office supplies, sports, technology, toys, and video games. For more information, visit and Follow us on Twitter: @npdtech and @npdgroup.

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