Optimus L5

Sub-$250 devices could represent as much as 46-percent of smart phones sold by 2018

As much as the latest high-end devices steal the news cycle (especially at a time like this), a large number of the phones sold around the world are still decidedly mid- and low-end. If analysis by ABI Research is to be believed, shipments of these low-end devices are going to increase at a much faster pace than the market as a whole. In 2018, 788 million low-end smart phones are expected to be shipped, compared to mid- and high-end devices combined at 925 million.

Depending on the market, the reasons for this may be slightly different, however. For emerging markets that are much more price-sensitive, low-end devices may be the only option those consumers have to get their hands on something with internet access. As carriers in those areas look to maximize profits from data traffic, they will push to have very inexpensive smart phones available for them.

In less price-sensitive (or heavily subsidized) markets like Western Europe and the U.S., there are still millions upon millions of people waiting to make that move from their feature phone onwards to a smart phone. Factoring the jump to a more expensive monthly rate including data, those consumers may need a stepping stone in the way of a more affordable (think $0 on-contract) option. These inexpensive phones also have the added bonus of carrying a smaller subsidy for the carriers to manage. Remember that while we like to focus on the highest of high-end devices, there's a whole market out there for phones that are a little more pedestrian.

Source: ABIresearch (BusinessWire)