The rising demand for smartphones is expected to drive the global mobile phone growth to 7.3% in 2013, reporting a sharp recovery from 1.2% growth in 2012, according to a new report.
IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker revealed that the overall mobile phone shipments are expected to reach 1.8 billion in 2013, for the first time in a single year.
According to the report, the latest forecast marks the first time global smartphone shipments are anticipated to exceed one billion units in a single year.
The research firm noted that the overall mobile phone market is on rise compared to earlier forecasts, mainly contributed by several factors including a growing array of sub-$200 smartphones.
IDC Mobile Phone team research manager Ramon Llamas said that two years ago, the worldwide smartphone market flirted with shipping half a billion units for the first time, to double that in just two years, highlights the ubiquity that smartphones have achieved.
"The smartphone has gone from being a cutting-edge communications tool to becoming an essential component in the everyday lives of billions of consumers," Llamas said.
In 2013, global smartphone shipments are expected to report 40% rise to over 1.0 billion units, with the number reaching 1.7 billion units in 2017.
IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker programme senior research analyst Kevin Restivo said that smartphones will represent virtually all of the mobile phone market in many of the world's most developed economies by the end of 2017.
"Aggressive carrier subsidies of handsets, falling prices, higher consumer awareness, and a vast array of devices will mean almost all phones shipped to the developed world will be 'smart,'" Restivo said.
"However, smartphone shipment volume will be dominated by emerging markets, such as China, even though the percentage of smartphones to feature phones won't be as high."
However, Android dominated the list of the smartphone operating systems, followed by iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS.
"Underpinning the smartphone market is an evolving market for operating systems," Llamas added.
"We believe Android and iOS will remain the clear number one and two platforms, respectively, throughout our forecast.
"What remains to be seen is how Windows Phone and BlackBerry's respective futures will play out pending their recent announcements.
"Windows Phone has inched ahead of BlackBerry during the first half of 2013, and we believe that will extend into the future.
"However, overall shipments will continue to trail those of Android and iOS."
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