Smartphone sales – just how big is that market?

At Geekwire Summit last week, Rich Barton of Zillow and Bill Gurley of Benchmark spoke about the enormous opportunity that Mobile is. One comment was the sales volume of Smartphone activations each quarter being the size of the internet circa 2000.


But just how big is the Smarphone market? Well…big…very big…by comparison the number of smartphones sold, every quarter, is now as big as all internet domains names, or an entire 5-7 years gaming console generation!

IDC expects WW smartphone sales to reach 1 Billion units in 2013 with a whopping 40% growth rate. That would place smartphone sales at 1.7 Billion in 5 years when smartphones are expected to be 95%+ of Mobile phone sales (from >55% of total today). Apple has ~17% of the WW smartphone sales, Android ~75%. In the US, Apple has ~43% share and Android ~51% share.

Quick back of the envelope calculations shows that WW smartphone unit sales are (rounded)…

250 million per quarter
80 million per month
20 million per week
3 million per day
100 thousand per hour
2 thousand per minute
33 every second

Let’s drill down on one quarter of smartphone sales being an incredible 250 million/qtr

– that is an entire console gaming generation (i.e.. 250 million consoles sold WW in 5-7 yrs), every quarter.

– it is more than a whole year of Desktop (134 million) or Laptop (181 million) PC sales! By 2015 (ie. tomorrow) each quarter the smartphone market will be as big as the whole yearly WW PC market! (IDC, Sep 2013)

– it is the entire internet registered domain names, world-wide!! (there were 246 million registered domain names end of 2012, growing ~12%/yr) (Verisign, Dec 2012)

– it is an entire Facebook circa July 2009 (remember how hot Facebook was then and how people blogged about its unstoppable global conquest?). On a yearly basis, smartphone sales equals (and will surpass) one entire Facebook.

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