Move Over PCs, Sales of Smartphones to Reach 1.5 Billion in 2016

February 29, 2012
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smartphoneThings are about to go from bad to worse for PC makers of the world. That is if you believe the latest forecast that was just released by Business Insider Intelligence on the expected global sales of smartphones compared to PCs.

It appears that smartphone sales will far surpass their PC counterparts, with the numbers expected to reach 1.5 billion units in 2016. Comparing this to the number of PCs that have been sold this year, which stood at 350 million units, it isn’t hard to see why some tech pundits are declaring the death of PCs and heralding the new age of mobile devices. A premature declaration, we know, but the figures do speak for themselves.

Sales forecast for the next couple of years

Of course, defeating the PC is a feat that has already been achieved by smartphones as early as last year. As for this year, the lead of smartphones sales over PC sales is expected to double.

According to Alex Cocotas, research analyst at BI Intelligence, there are two factors that contribute to the booming sales of smartphones.

The first factor is the declining price of the devices. After hovering around $315 in 2011, the average price of a smartphone is expected to drop to $200, within the next couple of years. The second factor is linked closely to the first one. With prices coming down, consumers are more inclined to make that jump from dumbphones – 5 billion units of them – to smartphones. It’s worth mentioning that the report states that smartphones only made up about 10 percent of the global sales of mobile phones this year. So there’s definitely room for growth.

The report also mentions that, over the next five years, smartphones sales will see a 30 percent compound annual growth rate. By 2016, smartphones will make up about 2/3 of all mobile phone sales.

It is not uncommon for analysts to make such bold claims about what’s hot and what’s not in 5 or 10 years from now. If you like numbers and like your story to have a certain twist, here are some sales stats from other analysts. Gartner estimates that the global smartphones sales in 2011 were 472 million units – accounting 31 percent of all mobile device sales. Meanwhile, IDC believes that 491.4 million units of smartphones were sold in 2011.

Suddenly, that 1.5 billion smartphones sales figure forecasted for 2016 doesn’t seem that ludicrous, does it?

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