Shipments of low cost smartphones — with a wholesale ASP below $200 –will grow from 238 million in 2013 to 758 million by 2018. India and other BRIC nations will drive this smartphone trend.
Market intelligence firm ABI Research noted that the low cost smartphones are increasingly appearing in OEM and telecom operator portfolios in both emerging and developed markets.
The latest trend will drive smartphone adoption in emerging markets where handset subsidization and disposable income are scarce.
“Despite the low cost moniker, research has shown that the feature gap between low- and high-end smartphones is decreasing, making low cost smartphones a good enough solution for price sensitive consumers in all markets,” says ABI Research senior analyst Michael Morgan.
Reference design solutions from Qualcomm and Mediatek are permitting regional and Chinese OEMs to deliver dual and quad core smartphone solutions at or below $200.
White label and regional tier II smartphone OEMs are increasingly squeezing device margins to win on price and capture market share from tier I smartphone offerings.
Low cost OEMs, such as Alcatel, CoolPad, Huawei, and ZTE are leveraging their market share to build brand recognition and move up market, putting pressure on the tier I OEMs to respond.
By 2018, low cost smartphones will account for 44 percent of all smartphone shipments as the telecom market looks to capture the next billion smartphone users.