We have a few of the less frequently-reported numbers that just came in. Gartner gives us their count of this year (2017) migration rate of all phones to smartphones in new sales. They count this year 2017 to hit 80% migration rate and next year 2018 they see migration reaching 86%.
That is a good data point to have. It means that roughly speaking in exact middle of 2017 the global new sales migration rate was at 80% this year (end of June) and will be roughly same point next year, 86%. That also means, that the migration currently is shifting about 1.5 percentage points per quarter (one half of one percent per month) and thus, by end of December 2017, the current new phone sales migration rate to smartphones will be at about 83% and right now (mid October, with quarter just ended September) we are at pretty exactly 81.5% migration of new sales of mobile phones to smartphones, globally.
By the way, this is almost exactly what I've been reporting on this blog. My latest comment said we'll end this year with 'just over 80%' migration rate. Nice to see big analyst houses finding the same type of numbers.
Now, if you plotted a straight line migration adding one half of one percent per month and this 6 points of migration ever year, to the 86% of mid 2018, you get 92% mid 2019, 98% mid 2020; and we arrive at 99.5% migration rate this time (end of September) at near the end of year 2020... So the current data does suggest that I might end up having been right on my timing of my 'migration completed' forecast haha, but that probably won't end up so soon. The typical diffusion curve is not in the shape of a straight line, it is rather an S-shaped curve, and the final migration rates should slow down, meaning we would push the 99% level into year 2021 or even 2022. Prepare yourself for that rather than counting on end of year 2020 being the moment we've been all waiting for, haha.
Also please remember new sales is not installed base. This is the only blog in the world that gives a quarterly count of the global installed base. That number lags about 2 full cycles of the replacement cycle or about 3.5 years vs new sales. So the rough time estimate of when all phones IN USE are smartphones (globally) that is about middle of 2020 decade, say very roughly year 2025.
Hey, talking about the replacement cycle? That is a number we quite rarely see from any sources. We have a recent update and it is via Counterpoint. They note that the replacement cycle has picked up again (getting shorter, after it had been growing longer for the recent past). A few days ago Counterpoint released news that they measure the replacement cycle now at 21 months, down from 24 months. That suggests a nice heating-up of the handset market for the next approx 12-18 month period.. We'll keep tracking the facts and reporting them for you here. And if you want all the latest mobile stats in one place, get the TomiAhonen Almanac now.