Smartphone shipments to top 1bn

11 January 2013

LONDON: Smartphone shipments are due to surpass 1bn units worldwide for the first time this year, but habits are beginning to vary among users in different markets, a report has shown.

Deloitte, the services firm, stated this landmark, coupled with the installed base of smartphones – namely, devices with a touchscreen or a QWERTY keyboard – mean the global total should reach 2bn in 2013.

Overall, the company predicted 20% of people possessing these gadgets will access the internet via this route less than once a week or not at all.

"The 400m smartphones that never or rarely connect to the web in 2013 will not be idle, but their usage will resemble that of a feature phone," the company's study said.

Drawing on a poll of over 10,000 smartphone users in 15 markets, Deloitte added that 92% of this audience in Japan go online more than once a week on this device, hitting 85% in the US and 79% in the UK.

Finland and France both registered 77% on this metric, beating Germany on 72% and Belgium on 64%.

The company's research among urban smartphone owners in emerging markets pegged this figure at 91% in Turkey, with Croatia on 85% and South Africa on 81%.

It also suggested 77% of Brazil's user base regularly go online through their handset, ahead of Mexico and Argentina on 76% and Russia on 67%.

Turning to apps, Deloitte found that 16% of the smartphone population were yet to download such tools, broken out to 21% in more mature markets and 13% in fast-growth economies.

Elsewhere, the analysis stated that around 500m smartphones in use at the start of this year will have retailed for less than $100, a total which is likely to rise this year.

The number of "hand-me-down" devices in circulation is also set to increase further, meaning growth in the amount of handsets not able to run the apps that a new, high-end product can.

"It may be that the only apps this category of owners will ever use are those that come pre-loaded onto the device," the study said.

Data sourced from Deloitte; additional content by Warc staff