Tablet and Smartphone Sales Expected to Reach 1.2 Billion in Three Years
You don’t have to tell anyone that tablets and smartphones are big business, but it seems we might not have any idea just how big. According to a recent report from Transparency Market Research (via BGR), the total smartphone and tablet market is poised to explode over the next three years, reaching 1.2 billion units.
According to Transparency there were 67 million tablets sold in 2011 and that the market is expected to grow by 38 percent annually. Crunching some numbers that leads to anticipated sales of 248.6 million to be sold by the end of 2015. Meanwhile, smartphones are expected to expand from 282 million to 1.05 billion over the same time period. Asia is proving to be the fastest-growing market, and will make up an estimated 40 percent of the entire smartphone market by 2015.
So what does this news mean to developers? First off, the bubble is far from bursting, with several markets snapping up phones and tablets at a breakneck pace which should continue for the foreseeable future. Also, many studios may want to turn at least part of their attention to the Asian market, since that slice of the population is nowhere near as saturated as the US and even Europe. While everyone dreams of creating a game or app with worldwide appeal it makes a lot of sense to start focusing on apps which serve specific markets in regions such as China, Japan and India. It will be interesting to see what studios manage to find great success creating apps that don’t even launch in the West.
The other issue we may want to consider is that the estimates put forth by Transparency may be too conservative, and the market could explode even faster than they anticipate. For instance, the report uses the incredibly strong sales of the iPhone 4S as the basis for its smartphone projections, and that particular model isn’t even Apple’s most anticipated product. A fair number of smartphone owners chose not to upgrade to the 4S, instead opting to wait for a true redesign, which is expected to touch off a tidal wave of sales once announced. Add in an anticipated iPad refresh and the looming spectre of a true Apple television and the projections of this report may prove to be downright timid.