Market Research

Your smartphone will be your new computer and bank. China's, too.

March 10, 2011: 2:51 PM ET

Sure, smartphones are booming, but here's how banking, enterprise and OS battles are really going to play out on the sleek gadget in your pocket.

By Mitch Cline, guest contributor

Smartphones

Wireless handsets have been around for decades, but this market has perhaps never had a more promising future than it does now in terms of potential market penetration, consumer demand, and global significance. Take mobile handset penetration: Globally, we're talking big-time numbers that are only going to get bigger. More than 1.4 billion mobile handsets are expected to ship this year—a 10% increase over last year. It's likely that within three years that number will exceed one and a half billion, according to market research firm iSuppli.

One reason for this exceptional growth potential is that the fastest growing segment of the mobile handset market is higher priced, feature-rich smartphones. These are typically sold to consumers in the $300-$600 range. Accenture (ACN), where I work, has found that ownership of smartphones among consumers in eight countries quadrupled from 8% in 2009 to 32% in 2010, while ownership of cheaper, basic mobile phones dropped by 79% in 2009 to 65% in 2010. More purchases of the more expensive smartphones—bound to keep accelerating—translates to higher profit margins for mobile handset manufacturers and more consumer uptake of more mobile handset features and applications.

In this growth market, we at Accenture have chosen seven trends, based on our industry research and analysis, and talking with top industry executives, that pinpoint where we think smartphones are going this year.

1) Smartphones all over the enterprise

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