Smartphone Sales to Outpace Feature Phones for the First Time, Says IDC

In the mobile market, 2013 will be the year that smartphone shipments reached a tipping point where they beat out feature phone shipments for the first time--just barely. According to numbers from the IDC, smartphones accounted for just under 42% of all mobile phone shipments in 2012, and that number will climb to about 50.1% in 2013.

The IDC only expects feature phones to diminish from here on out, with shipments dwindling every year until they reach about a third of all mobile phone shipments in 2017 (which is as far out as the firm has projected numbers).

IDC Smartphone Shipments

The reasons for the swing are perhaps obvious; smartphone prices have dropped worldwide while there are ever more price points to choose from, and 4G network proliferation is driving sales, as well. Demand for smartphones in developing markets such as China, Brazil, and India is also a major driver.

Sales in the U.S. and UK are expected to continue to grow, albeit at a far lesser pace going forward than in recent years.