IDC: Smartphones will eventually surpass feature phone shipments in 2013

The mobile industry is on the verge of a major turning point, according to a new report from the International Data Corporation.

See also: Canalys forecasts one billion Android smartphone sales in 2017 and rapid growth for Windows Phone

Market intelligence company reported on Tuesday that global smartphone shipments are expected to reach approximately 958.8 million units.

It is a 32.7 percent increase from 722.5 million units in 2012.

More important, IDC analyst predicted that this will be the year that smartphones surpass feature phones in total cell phone shipments all over the world.

Specifically, analysts expect that smartphones will account for 52.2 percent of all mobile phone shipments by the end of 2013.

Ramon Llamas, a research manager at IDC mobile devices team, stressed the importance of this shift in the report goes so far as to describe 2013 as a "watershed year for smartphones."

If you look at the number of vendors that support both feature phones and smartphones, many of them have not only successfully transferred their product portfolios to select smartphones, but smartphones have become their primary value proposition going forward. In some cases, smartphones accounted for over 50% of their quarterly shipment volume. Going forward, we expect that the gap between smartphones and feature phones to grow ever wider.

IDC's report on Tuesday is similar with another published by IHS iSuppli last november. The forecast use NAND Flash memory concerned in particular, signaling a major SHIFT that will directly affect the supply chain partners as soon as this year.

However, Nielsen issued an industry survey in January 2013, positing that smartphones still have "room to grow" in several top emerging markets at least.

As for six months ago found Nielsen to feature phones, which researchers defined as "devices without touch screen, QWERTY keyboard and operating system" is far more dominant in India and Russia, covering 80 per cent and 51 per cent of mobile users, respectively.

Chart via IDC

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