ABI: Smartphone Shipments to Leapfrog All Handset Shipments Combined by 2016

On Friday, ABI Research reported that global handset shipments are on pace to increase 29% from 1.7 billion in 2012 to 2.2 billion in 2016.

ABI’s findings come on the heels of Nielsen’s recent report covered by Mobile Marketing Watch showing a dramatic increase in smartphone penetration in the United States.

The key driver of future mobile growth will come from the smartphone segment, ABI concurs, which is forecast to become larger than the ultra-low cost, low-cost, and feature phone segments combined by 2016.

The total shipments of non-smartphones will grow 1.08 billion in 2012 to 1.09 billion in 2016 while smartphone shipments will grow from 643 million to 1.1 billion over the same period.

“This emerging scenario could become a very dangerous situation for Nokia’s handset business as the smartphone and feature phone segments will not be able to support each other in trying times,” says Kevin Burden, vice president and practice director, mobile devices.

Low-cost smartphones are forecast to grow from 45 million shipments in 2012 to 170 million in 2016.

“The writing is on the wall: either you have a successful smartphone strategy or you will have to steal market share to grow,” adds Michael Morgan, senior analyst, mobile devices.

ABI Research’s new report, “Mobile Device Shipment Market Data,” is available now at cost here.