Smartphone Shipments Declined In 2017, Return To Growth Expected

Worldwide smartphone shipments contracted year-over-year for the first time in 2017, according to the latest data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) and echoing previous reports specific to Q4, 2017. In total, the IDC notes 1.46 billion smartphones were shipped during 2017, representing a 0.5-percent decrease year-over-year. Although this figure is variable with some places seeing greater contraction than others. For example, the US market was largely considered to be flat over last year, while EMEA saw a decline of 3.5-percent. At the more extreme end China saw a decline of nearly 5-percent and this is understood to be one of the factors that most contributed to the 2017 worldwide decline.

On a more positive note, the IDC largely foresees the decline in 2017 as a temporary issue as the market intelligence and data tracking firm expects the market to return to growth and in no small part fueled by developing markets. Although that growth does come with a caveat considering the IDC expects growth to be slow over the next few years. For example, while 1.46 billion smartphones were shipped in 2017, the IDC expects that number to have increased to only 1.68 billion by 2022, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.8-percent.

As part of the latest data set, the IDC has provided details on how this all breaks down at the operating system level. More accurately, at the Android and iOS level. As the data for 2017 shows these two competing platforms accounting for 99.9-percent of the shipped smartphones in 2017 with Android on its own accounting for 85.1-percent. By 2022, the IDC expects Android's number to have grown by only 0.4-percent to 85.5-percent. While this seems like limited market share growth, due to the two operating systems accounting for essentially 100-percent of the market, it is growth that is expected to come at the direct expense of iOS. With the IDC expecting the 14.8-percent 2017 iOS market share to decrease down to 14.4-percent by 2022. Of course, that does not mean a decrease in sales as when taking against the wider prediction of shipments increasing from 1.46 billion to 1.68 billion over the next few years, iOS is expected to see its shipment volume increase from 215.8 million to 242.4 million. While Android will see its volume increasing from 1.24 billion to 1.44 billion.

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