India and Brazil will see strong smartphone growth in the period to 2017, with China remaining the biggest market, according to a forecast by IDC.

According to the company, India will see growth of 459.7 per cent across the five years, followed by Brazil on 129.4 per cent, and China at 52 per cent.

Market growth over the period will be 65 per cent.

According to IDC, at the end of the period India’s smartphone volume (155.6 million) will be closing on that of the US (183 million), although both will be dwarfed by China (457.9 million). Brazil (66.3 million) will have overtaken markets including the UK (47.5 million) and Japan (37.7 million).

India’s smartphone market will grow due to factors including greater availability of low-cost devices and additional sales emphasis by top vendors in less populous parts of the country. In addition, 3G network coverage is set to grow, with 4G rollouts from 2015 onward.

Brazil’s market is being driven by “a confluence of circumstances, such as tax breaks for vendors that create jobs via local mobile phone production”. Operators are also subsidising devices with an eye on driving data use.

“Brazilians have yet to turn in their feature phones for smartphones on a wholesale basis. The smartphone tide is turning in Brazil though, as wireless service providers and the government have laid the groundwork for a strong smartphone foundation that mobile phone manufacturers can build upon,” said Bruno Freitas, consumer devices research manager at IDC Brazil.

The research firm also said that more smartphones will ship in 2013 than feature phones, marking the first time this has happened over a 12-month period.

Vendors will ship 918.6 million smartphones this year, or “50.1 per cent” of total mobile phone volume worldwide.