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Emerging markets push growth in handsets, mobile workers

Jan 6, 2012 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Smartphone manufacturers are increasingly focusing their efforts on emerging markets, says ABI Research, which forecasts the mobile handset market in general growing 8 percent in 2012, representing 1.67 million shipments. Meanwhile, IDC projects that by 2015, the world's mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion, representing 37.2 percent of the total workforce, with the greatest growth expected in emerging markets.

The mobile handset market will grow 8 percent in 2012, netting 1.67 billion handsets shipped worldwide by the end of year, according to a report from IT analytics firm ABI Research. In the study, "Mobile Device Shipment Market Data" the company notes that for the first time, 3G and 4G handset shipments will capture more than 50 percent of total handsets shipped.

Much of that growth will occur in emerging markets, says the research firm. In the second half of 2011, tier one smartphone vendors such as Samsung, Apple, and HTC began redoubling efforts to promote their smartphone line-up to upwardly mobile, aspirational smartphone owners in emerging markets, says ABI.

In particular, Samsung, with its varied, but primarily Android-focused smartphone segmentation strategy, has been making substantial inroads into the emerging country smartphone market. Its Android-based Galaxy S II smartphone (pictured) sold three million units last summer before even reaching U.S. shores.

Apple is expanding its iPhone sales channels in emerging markets, and is enjoying greater success in China than in India. It is also targeting South American markets such as Brazil, the report found. Meanwhile, smartphone manufacturer HTC is said to be gaining traction in China, but developed markets such as North America and Europe continue to be the mainstay of its "ship into" markets.

Nokia, which recently partnered with Microsoft on Windows Phone 7 handsets, hopes to benefit from the company's Lumia series launches (Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 pictured at left). Lumia phones shipped in India in December, and will invade China in the first quarter of 2012.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM), despite its weakness in apps-capable smartphone markets, continues to do well in messaging-centric emerging markets such as Indonesia, says the study.

"As the festive cheer of the holiday season dies away, the mood among handset vendors remains quietly confident regarding 2012," stated Jake Saunders, ABI's vice president of forecasting.

The North American handset market, driven primarily by smartphones, is proving oblivious to the Euroland debt crisis, says ABI. North America is estimated to have closed 2011 with 228 million handsets shipped, for a year-on-year growth of 14 percent, the region's highest yearly growth in more than five years.

"North America may only represent 15 percent of feature and smartphone units shipped globally, but due to the high proportion of high-end smartphone sales, it constitutes 40 percent of total smartphones sold by value," stated Kevin Burden, vice president and practice director of mobile devices at ABI. "It underscores what is at stake in the patent battles between Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Google, HTC, Microsoft, and even British Telecom."

The study, part of ABI's Smartphone and Mobile Device Research Service tracks the global, regional and country-level markets for smartphones and mobile handsets, and researches the development of the industry's enabling technologies. The service delivers detailed quarterly tracking and forecasts for handsets and smartphones, and includes tracking of cellular modems and ultra-mobile device segments.

Mobile workers on the rise, says IDC

By 2015, the world's mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion, representing 37.2 percent of the total workforce, according to an updated forecast from IT analytics firm IDC. The report projects the most significant gains will again be in the emerging economies of the Asia-Pacific region, thanks to continued, strong economic growth.

The Americas will experience a slower growth rate due to a protracted economic recovery and high rates of unemployment, IDC analysts concluded. The Americas region, which includes the United States, Canada, and Latin America, will see the number of mobile workers grow from 182.5 million in 2010 to 212.1 million in 2015.

According to IDC findings, North America has the largest number of mobile workers in this region, with 75 percent of the workforce mobile in 2010. However, the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) will see the largest increase in the total number of mobile workers, with 601.7 million mobile workers in 2010 and 838.7 million in 2015. Much of this is due to the sheer size of the population in China and India, combined with strong economic expansion in both countries.

In Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), the mobile workforce will see a healthy compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6 percent, as it expands from 186.2 million in 2010 to 244.6 million mobile workers in 2015. Japan will see a declining CAGR of 0.2 percent because of its declining population base. However, the share of mobile workers will reach a penetration rate of 64.8 percent of its workforce by 2015, for a total of 38.6 million mobile workers.

"Despite recent market turmoil, mobility continues to be a critical part of the global workforce, and we expect to see healthy growth in the number of mobile workers," stated Stacy Crook, senior research analyst for IDC's mobile enterprise research program. "Our forecast shows that the worldwide mobile worker population will increase from just over 1 billion in 2010 to more than 1.3 billion by 2015."

The IDC study, "Worldwide Mobile Worker Population 2011-2015 Forecast", provides a worldwide five-year mobile worker population forecast through 2015 and analysis across three major worker categories and 13 subcategories in four regions and two countries: The Americas, United States, Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Japan, and EMEA.

Elance study sees growth in online hiring

Despite a stagnant employment market in 2011, online hiring has grown at a record pace, up more than 100 percent from 2010. Elance, a platform for online workers and employers, recently released its "2011 Online Employment Review", which reveals that the future of work will be contingent, global, and online.

As more companies seek instant access to talent and greater flexibility to run their businesses, individuals are taking control of their future by building careers as independent professionals, the report concluded. The report also found more people are pursuing independent careers and using online platforms to reinvent their careers.

The 2011 Elance survey of online freelance professionals indicated that nearly one in three workers began freelancing to be one's own boss and to work on the type of projects they love. The top benefits of online work cited include the ability to control one's own schedule (90 percent), follow their passion (87 percent), and eliminate commuting (85 percent).

Nathan Eddy is a writer for eWEEK.

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