Worldwide smartphone sales growth set to slow as market matures: IDC

Growth in annual smartphone shipments worldwide is expected to drop to 8.3% in 2017 and 6.2% in 2018 as the global smartphone market matures, according to a new forecast from IDC.

IDC also predicts year-on-year growth during 2014 of 19.3%, from 1 billion units to 1.2 billion. However, shipment growth in establishment markets in Europe and North America is likely to slow to single-digit growth, while the Japanese market could begin contracting.

According to Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, 2014 is likely to be a year of transition for the mobile industry.

“In North America we see more than 200 million smartphones in active use, not to mention the number of feature phones still being used.

“2014 will be an enormous transition year for the smartphone market. Not only will growth decline more than ever before, but the driving forces behind smartphone adoption are changing. New markets for growth bring different rules to play by and ‘premium’ will not be a major factor in the regions driving overall market growth.”

The maturing market is likely to cause the average selling price of smartphones to fall from $US308 in 2014 to $US260 in 2018.

“Last year we saw a total of 322.5 million smartphone units ship for under $150 and that number will continue to grow going forward. We’ve already seen numerous smartphone announcements targeting this priceband this year, with some as low as $25,” IDC mobile phone research manager Ramon Llamas says.

“Just as the dynamics have changed for overall smartphone growth, so have the dynamics for smartphone pricing in the markets where continued growth is expected. Not all vendors will want to get into this space, but those that do must make deliberate choices about their strategies in order to succeed.”

In terms of platforms, IDC anticipated Android to remain the market leader, boosting its shipments from 950.5 million units in 2014 to 1.3 billion in 2018.

IDC also anticipates Apple’s iOS is set to grow from 179.9 million units this year to 249.6 million, while Windows Phone will grow from 47 million units in 2014 to 121.8 million in 2018.

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