Antsy Upgraders the Reason Why Smartphone Shipments Will Reach 1 Billion by 2016

If you stop for a moment and think about all the things a smartphone can do, it's pretty remarkable the amount of technology you can stuff n your pants pocket. These little devices pull streaming tunes from satellites thousands of miles away, they translate human speech into text, and do a million and one other things, not the least of which is actually making phone calls. But as remarkable as they are, we're a fickle bunch always ready to upgrade to something bigger, badder, and faster.

So says NPD DisplaySearch, which predicts that smartphone shipments will nearly double from 567 million units in 2012 to 1 billion in 2016. The timing of NPD DisplaySearch's prediction comes just hours before Apple is set to introduce the iPhone 5, which the research firm says will play a big role for the rest of 2012.

Smarphone Shipments
Source: NPD DisplaySearch

"Apple's iPhone 5 will be a key product for the smartphone market in the second half of 2012," Hiroshi Hayase, vice president, small/medium displays for NPD DisplaySearch, said in a statement. "Apple shipped more than 140 million phones in 2010 and 2011, so we can expect smartphone shipments to continue flourishing as users upgrade to the new iPhone."

The inevitable demand for the iPhone 5, which will feature a larger touchscreen and 4G LTE connectivity, underscores that fact that the majority of smartphone shipments are replacement devices, not new smartphones. In fact, NPD DisplaySearch downgraded its 2012 forecast of new smartphone purchases from 220-230 million units to 177 million, whereas replacements will account for around three times as many.