According to the latest research from our WDS (Devices) service, mobile phone sales will reach 430 million units and generate revenues of US$87 billion in China during 2014. In contrast, mobile phone sales will stabilize at 163 million units and deliver revenues of just US$60 billion in the United States this year. China will overtake the United States for the first time ever to become the world’s largest mobile phone market by value.

We forecast mobile phone sales to grow 15 percent annually to reach a record 430 million units in China during 2014. Mobile phone trade revenues will surge 53 percent annually to reach a record US$87 billion this year. In contrast, mobile phone sales in the United States will grow zero percent annually, while trade revenues will increase only 4 percent to US$60 billion in 2014. China will finally overtake the United States for the first time this year to become the world’s largest mobile phone market by value.


China’s impressive mobile growth is being driven by the country’s rapid shift to 3G and 4G smartphones. Major brands, such as Samsung, Huawei and Lenovo, are aggressively expanding their distribution channels and product ranges across the region to meet extremely strong demand from Chinese consumers for more advanced mobile phones.


The United States is maturing and has now lost its crown to China as the world’s largest mobile phone market by revenue. However, it is important to remember the US remains by far the mobile industry’s most valuable country by profit. High average selling prices for mobile phones and huge operator subsidies from Sprint and others continue to make the US a very profitable market for major device brands such as Apple, Samsung and Alcatel.

 

Exhibit 1: Mobile Phone Sales and Trade Revenues by Country in 2014  [1]

Mobile Phone Sales (Millions of Units)

2013

2014

China

374.8

429.8

United States

163.3

163.4

 

 

 

Mobile Phone Trade Revenues (US$, Billions)

2013

2014

China

$57.0

$87.2

United States

$57.4

$59.5

 

 

 

Source: Strategy Analytics

 

 

  



[1]  Numbers are rounded. The term "mobile phone" refers to all smartphones plus feature phones combined. Trade revenues are defined as wholesale revenues. The 2014 data are forecast estimates.