Samsung is forecast to continue to lead the smartphone market, while Apple will peak and then remain flat, according to ABI Research.
"Barring an unlikely collapse of its business", Samsung will retain its lead in the smartphone market this year, with even Apple forced to chase the South Korean company when it comes to "technology, software, and device leadership in 2013 through the foreseeable future,” according to ABI Research senior analyst Michael Morgan.
Samsung’s market share has continued to grow from 8 per cent in 2010 to over 30 per cent in 2012, and it is expected to increase its lead, according to research issued by the analyst firm.
Apple's market share, on the other hand, will peak at 22 per cent this year, ABI Research predicted, and then remain flat through to 2018.
The research firm also predicts handsets equipped with 4G, such as the LTE-equipped iPhone 5, will account for 50 per cent of smartphone shipments in 2018.
“With the successful launch of the iPhone 5 and competing LTE handsets from other leading OEMs, LTE handsets will be found in the hands of many consumers who do not even have access to LTE networks,” ABI Research senior practice director Jeff Orr said in a statement.
Smartphone shipments will continue to grow to 50 per cent of all handset shipments by 2014, rising to 69 per cent in 2018, the research firm predicts.
Low-cost smartphones with wholesale average selling prices under $US250 will drive penetration, the research firm said. Low-cost handsets will account for 62 per cent of smartphone shipments by 2018.
It has been rumoured that Apple will release a cheap iPhone, possibly costing as little as $US99. However, there is also speculation that the cheap iPhone will be sold only in emerging markets.