Jeremiah Yap

Smartphones are expected to overtake the number of feature phones in worldwide sales this year, according to market research firm IDC. It may have been inevitable, but analysts have long predicted that the smartphones would outnumber feature phones one day.

The emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China have contributed to the increase of smartphones.

"While we don't expect China's smartphone growth to maintain the pace of a runaway train as it has over the last two years, there continue to be big drivers to keep the market growing as it leads the way to ever-lower smartphone prices and the country's transition to 4G networks is only just beginning," IDC senior research manager Melissa Chau said in a press release.

One of the reasons why smartphones will overtake feature phones is the falling prices of smartphones globally. Network carriers are also offering cheaper 4G rates.

Less than half of smartphones shipped by 2017 will be in China and emerging markets.

"Even as China starts to mature, there remains enormous untapped potential in other emerging markets like India, where we expect less than half of all phones shipped there to be smartphones by 2017, and yet it will weigh in as the world's third largest market," Chau added.

The largest smartphone market this year will be China with 301.2 million shipments. Second will be the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, Japan and Brazil.


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