According to a recent report by ABI Research, shipments of sub-US$250 low-cost smartphones will grow from 259 million in 2013 to 788 million in 2018. As per the report, mid (sub-$400) and high ($400+) cost smartphone shipments are expected to grow from 635 million to 925 million over the same period.
ABI senior analyst, Michael Morgan said,”As the feature phone segment continues to lose its battle for relevance, the low-cost smartphone has become the tool for operators seeking to drive increased data revenues.”
The report found that the growth of smartphones in pre-paid and emerging markets will be the primary driver of low-cost smartphone growth. Developed and subsidized markets are also finding that low-cost smartphones can capture the remaining consumers that have yet to convert to a smartphone while minimizing the margin impacts stemming from subsidizing high-cost smartphones.
According to the report, mid- and high-cost smartphones will continue to play an important role for operators looking to seed their customer base with the most advanced smartphones. As per the report, premium smartphones tend to carry the most advanced wireless connectivity and operators who are upgrading their network want to ensure that the handsets running on their network can deliver the best possible experience and customer satisfaction.