Over a billion feature phones would be sold over the next three years as the segment is forecast to generate around $16 billion cumulatively in wholesale hardware revenues globally, a new report by Counterpoint Research said.
India continues to be the largest market in terms of potential feature phone volumes followed by Bangladesh and Nigeria.
According to Counterpoint research, in contrast to the smartphone market which contracted for the first time in 2018, the feature phone market has continued to grow over the last three years. In 2019, a little more than 400 million feature phones would be sold globally.
“India and the Middle East Africa region will see cumulative shipments of around 800 million feature phones out of more than one billion global feature phone shipments over the next three years,” Peter Richardson, Research Director at Counterpoint Research, said in a statement.
Feature phone shipments are further expected to cross one billion units by 2021.
Much of the growth of feature phones in India has been driven by the revival of the Nokia-branded features phones and the popularity of the Jio Phone, a smart feature phone which packs a chipset and an operating system that can support sophisticated smartphone-like features in a traditional feature phone form-factor.
“There are more than three billion people across the world who live on an income of less than $2.50 per day. This segment can neither afford a smartphone nor the data services demanded by the growing advancement in smartphone use-cases. Thus, a feature phone, coupled with basic mobile services, has been the go-to offering for these users to communicate and connect,” said Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research.
The rise of 4G capability in feature phones would be one of the key trends moving forward which would allow the feature phone segment to remain relatively resilient in the medium term.