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Smartphones are prevalent no matter where you go, and the reason for that is because there are so many of them in the wild. According to CCS Insight, global smartphone sales will surpass 1 billion units by the end of the year even though overall growth in the mobile phone sector has been slowing down as of late. By the end of 2013, smartphones will account for 55 percent of total mobile phone shipments, leaving plenty of room for growth as feature phone holdouts upgrade their handsets.
By 2017, CCS Insight believes smartphones will account for more than three-fourths -- 78 percent -- of a total of 2.19 billion mobile phones sold around the globe.
"The insatiable demand for smartphones keeps growing, with over one billion smartphones expected to be sold in 2013. This explosive growth is occurring despite the overall market for mobile phones slowing down, as the mix of new sales is firmly shifting to more-capable smart devices," said Marina Koytcheva (PDF), CCS Insight's Director of Forecasting.
Another reason why feature-phone shipments are yielding to smartphones is because profit margins are being squeezed hard, CCS Insight says. It's now led by just three companies, including Nokia, Samsung, and TCL Alcatel OneTouch. CCS Insight says it's a cutthroat business, adding a bit of intrigue as to whether Microsoft will opt to compete following its acquisition of Nokia.