36 Per Cent of 2012 Smartphone Sales were in China, says Informa

36 per cent of all smartphones sales this year were in China, according to research from Informa Telecoms & Media. 284m smartphones have been bought in the country in 2012, growth of 85 per cent between 2011 and 2012, making it the largest market in the world.

786m smartphones were sold worldwide, which is 45 per cent more than last year. Total global handset sales, including feature phones, is 1.5bn.

72 per cent of smartphone handsets worldwide are running Android, or 571m, with 32.9 per cent of those in China. Android has 66.1 per cent market share here – 187.7m handsets – although many do not fully comply with Google’s ecosystem. Informa believes that 41 per cent of these devices support alternative app frameworks, including Baidu, Alibaba, Xiaomi, Tencent, Wandoujia and Anzhi.

Half will be Android by 2015

The US is the second-largest market for Android with an 11 per cent share.  Informa anticipates that at least one in every two phones sold in the US in 2013 will be powered by this platform. By 2015 – the company expects the same to be true globally.

Apple’s iPhone and Microsoft’s Windows Phone hold minority market share in China – around 5 per cent and 1 per cent. Windows Phone is expected to increase its share to 2 per cent next year, thanks to Nokia’s partnership with China Mobile, the largest network operator in the world. Informa predicts that the iPhone will lose market share here if Apple does not offer an LTE variant for the Chinese market.

Apple rots in US?

Informa warns that Apple’s sluggishness to upgrade its  ‘ageing iOS’ may see sales decline by 4 per cent in the US next year, from 35.5m to 34m. Microsoft is expected to slightly improve its market share here next year, to 6.5 per cent, as Nokia and HTC strengthen their Windows Phone partnerships.

“Android is expected to continue gaining market share globally and, by 2015, one in every two handsets sold worldwide will be powered by it. However, according to Informa Telecoms & Media, the market share of this platform could potentially peak – or even decline – after 2016 owing to a more aggressive penetration of the alternative OSs, most notably Windows Phone,” said Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.

“Despite the economic downturn, the global smartphone market is enjoying healthy growth and consumers are actually spending more to acquire more technologically-advanced devices.”