American market research, analysis and advisory firm IDC has released a report about smartphone market dynamics, which claims to forecast that smartphone sales is going to slow down from 27.6% last year to 11.3% this year. That in itself is a significant decrease, but the firm predicts that the trend may not be universal. Many markets, according to the report, will continue to witness strong growth over the next few years, resulting in shipments of around 1.9 billion devices in 2019. IDC also goes on to say that the smartphone market in China will grow by only 2.5% in 2015 compared to last year, which will make this the first time in this decade that the Chinese market will see slower growth than the broader international market, which is poised to grow by a healthy 11.3%. Growth of Android smartphones this year is also predicted to be slower than the worldwide smartphone market at 8%.
Mr. Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, said “Smartphone volume still has a lot of opportunity in the years to come, but two fundamental segments driving recent years’ growth are starting to slow”, referring to the Chinese market, which reportedly shrunk in Q1, 2015. Mr. Reith believes, that this might have critical ramifications on Android’s market dominance, as China accounts for as much as 36% of all Android-based smartphones sold worldwide. While Apple also faced a downturn in their fortunes in the early years of this decade, the introduction of larger screens on its latest generation devices has meant more people joining the iPhone bandwagon; a phenomenon IDC expects to continue, as many in China are expected to upgrade from older, previous generation smaller screen iPhones to the current and next generation models, which will continue to give Apple’s shipment numbers and market share a boost.
As for Android, IDC expects it to finish 2015 with 1.14 billion devices shipped, and retain a market share of almost 80%, which has been the case for several months now. iOS is likely to remain a distant second with only 16.4% of market share and 237 million phones shipped. Windows phone will continue to be a laggard with just 3.2% of the market and just over 46 million devices shipped. All other platforms combined will barely have 1% of the overall market. Although IDC sticks its neck out and suggests the market will remain virtually identical circa 2019, with Android’s market dominance still undiminished with a 79% market share, but it will apparently be Apple, who will lose a significant chunk of its market share – mostly to Windows Phone – and come down to 14.2%. Windows Phone however, will continue to remain a distant third, with just 5.4% of the market, even though, it’s poised to grow at 13.6% that year.
Only IDC can explain the logic and rationale behind their predictions, as now more than ever, shifting dynamics of the smart devices market makes it well-nigh impossible for anybody to correctly predict what might happen a few months down the line, let alone several years from now.