The apparent significance of emerging markets to the evolution of the Mobile Internet is really nothing short of a transformation. Demand for lower cost technology has helped to advance all wireless broadband deployments and it's shifting the balance of power in the process.
Case in point: China will displace the U.S. as the largest smartphone market in 2013. Brazil and India are also forecast to be in the top four countries for smartphone shipments by 2018.
Smartphone vendor interest and the strategies of the smartphone value chain are shifting accordingly.
ABI Research forecasts that Russia will come in as the eleventh largest smartphone market in 2013 and will climb to 7th in 2018.
"With room to grow, the emerging BRIC nations are displacing established markets such as the U.S. and Japan as market leaders in terms of smartphone shipments," said , Michael Morgan senior analyst at ABI Research.
ABI Research forecasts that the top five countries in 2018 will account for 51 percent of worldwide smartphone shipments while the BRIC countries will account for 33 percent of smartphone shipments.
By 2018, Western Europe and North Americas’ share of smartphone shipments will be 33 percent (equal to BRIC) down from 39 percent in 2013.
It is clear that the growth of the smartphone market over the next five years will depend on operators and handset OEMs delivering optimized and price appropriate solutions to the BRIC consumers.
In terms of total handset shipments, the BRIC countries are already in the top five, but have lagged in their global smartphone share.
ABI notes that over the past two years, Android paired with low cost hardware has opened the door to increasingly lower ASPs for smartphones.
"When you look at operating system share in emerging markets, you tend to find that Android has been busy fulfilling its mission to bring the Internet to consumers who can’t afford a traditional PC or Laptop," added senior practice director, Jeff Orr.