Over 300 million smart feature phones expected to be sold across the world by the end of 2021 creating US$28 billion revenue

According to Counterpoint Research, over the next three years, nearly 370 million smart feature phones are expected to be sold across the world. This will not only introduce users to customer base to high-speed internet, apps, and services and will also open a new host of business and revenue opportunities for the entire mobile value chain.

This creates an opportunity to increase sales of smart feature phones and is expected to be around US$28 billion over the next three years. Counterpoint research says while the trend to migrate to smartphones is strong, less tech-savvy users and first-time users continue to prefer a feature phone form-factor and user interface. KaiOS remains the key reason for the raising growth of smart feature phones.

Reliance Jio with its JioPhone has seen the opportunity and adopted the platform to acquire tens of millions of 2G feature phone users to its 4G network with its KaiOS-powered 4G smart feature phone. Out of more than 100 million subscribers that Reliance Jio added since the Jio Phone launch in late 2017, the KaiOS powered 4G smart feature phone contributes close to half of those net additions. 

 The largest beneficiary from the growth in smart feature phones will be network operators. Existing 2G customers can be moved to a more efficient 4G network. Network operators can then improve its 4G growth by utilizing 2G resources.

Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research said: 

The global smart feature phone demand grew 252% year-on-year in 2018 – albeit from a low base, contributing roughly 16% of the total feature phone volumes. While India is the biggest contributor to this demand, major markets that have driven smart feature phone sales include the United States, United Kingdom, South East Asia and Africa. We estimate that smart feature phones will cross more than half of global feature phone volumes by 2021.

Neil Shah, Research Director at Counterpoint Research Shah said;

This will be enabled by a potential of more than 300 million smart feature phone users globally by the end of 2021. Software & Services alone will contribute to 71% of this near- to mid-term revenue opportunity, or around US$20 billion.