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Global Touchscreen Handset Shipments Grew 70% in 2011

by Linda Sui | Mar 16, 2012

Global touchscreen handset shipments surged 70% in 2011. The touchphone sub-segment is growing 6 times faster than the overall market. It is undoubtedly a fast-growing sub-category.

Having initially gained momentum in high-end smartphones, touchscreens are spreading to the mass-market in developed and developing countries worldwide. Touchscreens are rippling across multiple tiers of phones, with displays ranging from 2 to 5 inches diagonally. Popular models currently include the Samsung Galaxy S2 superphone (4.3 inches), Apple iPhone 4S (3.5 inches) and Nokia Asha series Touch and Type (2.4 inches). We believe first-time touchscreen handset buyers are favoring relatively smaller displays, while multi-time buyers with previous experience are upgrading to larger screens for improved usability. In particular, we highlight that 5-inch models, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note, are gaining increasing traction among some affluent users as they look for enhanced Internet and video experiences. We expect the 5-inch touchphone category to grow at a healthy clip in the next two years.

Samsung maintained the No.1 position in touchscreen handsets last year. Apple is second, despite popularizing the sub-category back in 2007. Meanwhile, Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE continue to evolve across the touchphone market, thanks to their growing presence in the Android ecosystem.

The United States is currently the world's most important touchscreen handset market, with most of the key brands and trends emerging from that country during recent years, including Apple iOS and Android. China continues to expand as a popular country for 3G touchphones. A rising number of local Chinese brands, such as Lenovo and Coolpad, have been pushing into the touchscreen handset category and generating higher volumes. Furthermore, Japan has witnessed strong growth of touchscreen volumes recently, indicated by the significant expansion of Apple, which is now the country?s second largest vendor.

- Linda Sui

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