Forecast: Global mobile subscribers and handsets, 2012-2017

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Global trends
  3. U.S. Forecast
  4. Western Europe forecast
  5. Rest of Asia forecast
  6. China forecast
  7. Japan forecast
  8. Rest of world forecast
  9. Conclusions
  10. Methodology
  11. About Peter Crocker


Saturated markets and a slumping global economy shrank sales of mobile phones in 2012. But demand for smartphones will help restore growth moving forward, as shipments of smartphones worldwide will surpass those of feature phones in 2013.

Key findings from the forecast include:

  • Global shipments of all handsets will grow 15 percent in 2013, to 1.9 billion, and at an annual rate of 8.7 percent through 2017. In contrast, shipments of smartphones will grow 40 percent in 2013 to over 975 million, and grow at a rate of over 20 percent compounded annually through 2017.
  • Replacement phones are the norm. Just under 15 percent of handset shipments went to new subscribers in 2012, and that figure will decline to under 5 percent by 2017.
  • Smartphone shipments will grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24 percent in China, 26 percent in other Asian countries (including India but excluding Japan), and 37 percent in rest of the world (e.g., Latin America and emerging markets).
  • In the U.S., where smartphones already make up 63 percent of shipments (growing to 76 percent in 2017), growth will be more modest. Smartphone shipments will increase 5 percent in 2013 to 160 million, then continue at a CAGR of 5.5 percent through 2017.

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