Analysing Trends in the Smartphone Sector
(Image credits : Ovum's report on Smartphone and Internet usage trends)
A driving force behind the rampant development of technology has been the need to satiate the consumer oriented market. And within the consumer oriented market, the most popular is, you guessed it, the mobile phone sector. Over the last couple of years, the smartphone sector has seen a wide variety of innovations, trends and ergo developments. Consumer behaviour changes rapidly, and the smartphone OEMs focus on developing products according to these behavioral changes.
Another contributing factor would be government norms and the development of hardware and software in general – which in turn provides the impetus for massive developments in the smartphone arena.
But what do these trends hint at? Is a pattern visible, and does it point towards bigger and better things to come? As rustic as it might sound, will the mobile take over the world?
In this article, I throw light on the recent trends that are taking the smartphone sector by storm.
Now this is quite a relevant question, and prima facie it might seem like a redundant one. However, the growth of mobile devices has been aided by quite a few unorthodox factors, which I'll be discussing about here.
Forget about the 'need' of the consumers to move on to better and bigger hardware specifications, there is a wide gamut of factors responsible for the rapid developments in the smartphone sector.
The very basic, fundamental purpose of a phone is communication – be it via voice calls or internet connectivity.
3G has now made way for 4G in developing countries, and with initiatives from governments across the world to provide free or subsidised internet services, we are seeing a future where everybody is connected through their mobile devices.
BIGGER IS BETTER
A fundamental trend that has been observed has been the general consensus preferring devices with larger screens. Large screen devices – phablets, if you will – offer more screen real estate for viewing content, and are being more preferred.
Flurry has some interesting numbers on this particular trend, so I'll just quote their stats on this.
Now, with size, also comes the resolution. 1080p screens have made way for 2K displays, and MWC might just see a mobile device with a 4K resolution display. More PPI, better clarity. And that's a USP for many flagship devices in recent times.
Probably won't be your everyday 'factor for growth of smartphones', but it is quite a relevant one. With the growth in eCommerce (SPECIALLY in developing countries), the need to access retail websites on the go has become all the more important. And with these retail stores developing intuitive applications for their target audience, it becomes all the more imperative for the consumers to be constantly connected.
While we're on retail, there are quite a few more reasons why people depend on their smartphones. Statista has a very relevant figure sheet in this regard.
WHAT ABOUT TABLETS?
While smartphones are the obvious trendsetters, tablets aren't far behind either. Major OEMs have tablets in their device lineup, and the growing trends do suggest that tablets are bridging the divide between the limited display of phones and the processing power of desktops and laptops.
According to an IDC report in 2014 on tablet shipments, the worldwide tablet shipments stood at 76.9 million units in Q4 of 2013, which was a 62.4% increase over Q3 2013. The following graph shows a depiction of the growth of the tablet market.
Now, there's an evident increase in the number of consumers and the overall sale and shipment of tablets. This trend prompted Business Wire (2014) to predict that 1 out of 5 people will use a tablet device in 2018. This would be combined with a forecasted decrease of desktop and laptop sales soon.
All in all, the target audience is looking towards portable technology which helps in their productivity and connectivity. This would also go hand in hand with the concept of IOTs and connected devices. The future holds lots of promise in the arena of handheld devices!
FACTS AND FIGURES
• India will surpass the USA in terms of number of smartphone users, and will attain the second position in the rankings of countries with most number of smartphone user, a rank shy of that held by China.
This is important because currently, the onus is on the developing countries to contribute to the growth of the smartphone market. And in this regard, developing countries, and the BRIC nations will be pivotal.
• While we're on developing nations, the Middle East and African countries will also contribute a major chunk. Here's an estimate of how many smartphone users were there and will be there by 2017.
• Now, I'll dive into the smartphone market share as per vendors. The total number of smartphones sold in Q3 2013 stood at 250 million units, and in Q3 2014 the numbers were 301 million. A yearly analysis was hard to procure, but even from these numbers, it is evident that smartphones are raising the bar for themselves.