China will overtake the U.S. this year as the world's largest smartphone market, according to a new IDC forecast. The research firm projects China will account for 26.5% of all smartphone shipments in 2012, compared to 17.8% for the U.S. Lower-priced Android phones will be a key to wider smartphone adoption throughout China.
Smartphone growth won't grind to a halt in the U.S, but it will slow as smartphones become the majority of mobile phones. “There is still a market for first-time users as well as thriving upgrade opportunities," said IDC senior analyst Ramon Llamas, in a statement.
Trailing well behind both China and the U.S. are the U.K., which IDC projects will claim 4.5% of smartphones shipments this year, followed by India (2.5%) and Brazil (2.3%). The rest of the world will make up 46.4% of the market. By 2016, the smartphone share of China and the U.S. is expected to contract to 23% and 14.5%, respectively, as other countries make gains.
India, which is forecast to have the highest smartphone growth rate in the coming years,