Mobile Phone Sales Will Hit 1.86 Billion in 2013 as Strong Smartphone Growth Continues

CCS Insight expects 983 million smartphones to be sold in 2013, accounting for over half of the total mobile phone market

Analysts predict that by 2017 more mobile devices will be in use than people on the planet


10 June 2013: Over 6.6 billion mobile phones will be in use by the end of 2017, according to CCS Insight's new market forecast, published today. Two-thirds of them will be smartphones, up from less than 25 percent in 2012.

In the first three months of 2013, smartphone shipments exceeded those of non-smartphones for the first time ever. Sales of smartphones have been helped by new, cheaper devices, especially, but not only, in emerging markets. The mobile and media analyst firm expects 1.86 billion mobile phones to be shipped in 2013, of which 53 percent will be smartphones.

The blisteringly fast growth of smartphones in Western Europe and North America will see penetration levels approaching saturation point in these markets within three years. More than 50 percent of the mobile phones in use in these regions are already smartphones. CCS Insight predicts this figure will grow to more than 80 percent in 2015. Beyond 2015, much of the growth will come from emerging markets.

At the same time, sales of tablets are rising at a staggering rate. Altogether, global shipments of smart mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) will increase 2.5 times between 2012 and 2017, to reach 2.1 billion units. CCS Insight predicts that by 2017 the combined number of mobile phones and tablets in use will exceed the world's population.

Forecast infographic

Forecast infographic. Click for larger version or PDF.

Despite the strong growth there's no room for complacency. Even dominant operating systems like Apple's iOS and Google's Android will face challenges. Marina Koytcheva, director of forecasting at CCS Insight, comments: "Having defined the modern smartphone era, Apple is struggling to keep up with overall smartphone market growth, particularly as that growth shifts toward emerging markets. Apple will have to choose between sustaining its profit margin and holding onto market share."

Koytcheva continues: "Android on the other hand is highly dependent on Samsung. As profit margins are squeezed Google will need to ensure Android remains a viable choice for other phone-makers."

CCS Insight points out that competition won't stand still either. Koytcheva comments: "Microsoft desperately needs to make an impact in smartphones as the PC market shows no sign of leaving the doldrums. Similarly, BlackBerry seems determined to remain a relevant competitor. And let's not forget new upstarts like Tizen, Firefox OS, Sailfish OS, Baidu Yi and Aliyun, which are all hustling to grab a share of this lucrative market."

When it comes to smartphones it's not just about competing software platforms. "Giving phone users the next generation of communication technology is going to be critical", says Koytcheva. "Mobile network operators are investing huge sums in 4G technology and are pushing hard to get 4G-enabled phones into people's hands."

CCS Insight expects sales of 4G devices to grow tenfold between 2012 and 2017, to 650 million units, with almost half of them going to emerging markets in 2017.

Notes to editors

A larger PDF version of the infographic above can be found here:
http://www.ccsinsight.com/images/images/ccs_insight_forecast_0613.pdf

About CCS Insight

CCS Insight is a global telecommunications analyst company. It provides comprehensive services that are tailored to meet the needs of individual clients, helping them make sense of the connected world. Follow CCS Insight on Twitter (@ccsinsight).

For further information contact:

Rachael Thomas/Hugo Deacon

Harvard PR

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7861 1627

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Hot News

Team Tweets

CCS Insight
Trevor Pardee, who's with us for the next few weeks, shares his experience of Google's Chromecast http://t.co/HgKzqLLSfh
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
RT @paolopescatore: Orange reported 6.7m TV users at end June14, up 10% YoY. Slower growth vrs last 2 quarters +123k in 2Q14, +130k in 1Q14…
Follow Shaun
Ben Wood
RT @TheRegister: Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch http://t.co/G8cuyJy3rT
Follow Ben
Martin Garner
RT @CCSInsight: Connected object hacks could stunt market growth for the Internet of things http://t.co/sIOoH3UwXn
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
Qualcomm's multi facetted China challenge is dominating the earnings call. This will be a recurring theme for a long time to come.
Follow Geoff
Arnaud Gagneux
@British_Airways many thanks. Getting ready for next flight already.
Follow Arnaud
Paolo Pescatore
Yippee, my #cafc season tickets have arrived. Come on the Addicks! Maybe playoffs, wishful thinking :-) @CAFCofficial http://t.co/eibddWtRCN
Follow Paolo
Kester Mann
Orange reports huge SIM-only growth in Spain – now 75% of contract customers Vs only 15% a year ago: http://t.co/etQHfhwiL0
Follow Kester
Jasdeep Badyal
Our @ccsinsight take on @EA fiscal 1Q15 results http://t.co/DF3BqdgWSz (login req'd) @EAMobile
Follow Jasdeep
George Jijiashvili
Without demo stations, #wearables are a tough sell in retail stores [http://t.co/yDuqyqQSu3] #wearabletech http://t.co/9rZvotDTXm
Follow George

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post
Chromecast: Doing More with Less Google's TV Dongle Is Ideal for Those on a Budget Currently... Read more
Blog Post
Encouraging Signs for Windows Phone Windows Phone Fitbit App a Step in the Right Direction ... Read more
Blog Post
Read 'em and Reap for Amazon? Amazon's Mobile Wallet Ambitions. A Distraction? Amazon... Read more
More blog

Latest Company News

Blog Post
Global Tablet Sales Stutter in 2014 After Extraordinary Period of Growth Tablet Market Growth Slows, but Device Replacement Will See ... Read more
More news

CCS Insight on

Watch the CCS Insight channel on YouTube. > Follow us now