It is easy to obsess over the latest iPhone or Android devices, but smartphones continue to represent a minority of mobile devices on the plant, according to new analysis from Vision Mobile. The smartphone genre accounts for just 27 percent of all mobile phones sold globally, that’s despite it making significant gains in developing regions of the world.
The research firm’s findings show that Nokia (20 percent) and Samsung (14 percent) feature phones hold the largest individual market share of any device globally, while the number of generic (‘other’) feature devices stands at 27 percent, making them equal to the number of smartphones worldwide.
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Smartphone watchers will not be surprised to see that Android is the biggest operating system (OS), while, based on device maker, Nokia (5 percent of all devices worldwide) Apple, Samsung (both 4 percent), RIM and HTC (both 3 percent) lead the genre.
Smartphone usage varies massively when looking at the breakdown of phones based on region. Adoption rates significantly higher in the more mature mobile markets of the western world where they outnumber feature phones.
The US has the highest recorded use of smartphones, where the device type accounts for 63 percent of all handsets, while they also outnumber feature phones in the selected European markets analysed by Vision Mobile, where they represent 51 percent of all devices.
Elsewhere in the world, it is a different story. Asia’s feature phone market has more than 600 million devices, according to the report, where less than one in four devices is a smartphone. The market reach of smartphones is lower still in Latin America and Africa/Middle East where devices from Android, Apple, RIM and co account for just 18 and 17 percent of the respective mobile markets.
While the statistics highlight that fact that smartphones do not dominate in every market across the world, the problem with looking at diverse regions like Europe and Asia through the eyes of just one statistic is that it fails to demonstrate the differences within each continent. The mobile market in the UK or Germany, for example, is far removed from Eastern European countries, likewise mobile usage in Asia Japan and Korea is a world apart from Southeast Asia.
Smartphones are in minority in many developing markets but they are growing at a rapid rate, particularly in Asia, which the GSMA predicts will be home to more than half of the world’s connected device by 2020. Android shipments to Southeast Asia are tipped to triple this year alone, while smartphone shipments to China recently overtook those to the US, seeing the world’s most populated country now become the world’s biggest mobile market.