A new forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to rebound slightly in 2017 after a slowdown last year.
According to a press release, year-over-year growth was 2.5 percent in 2016, marking the lowest growth ever for the industry. But with several devices entering the market in 2017, shipment volumes are expected to grow to 1.52 billion this year — and that momentum should continue into 2018 due to improved economic conditions in many emerging markets and a full year of new iPhone shipments from Apple.
“2016 was an interesting year for smartphones, with some high-growth markets down and other mature markets, like the U.S. and China, outpacing global growth rates,” said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers. “Looking ahead, we continue to believe several factors will enable the smartphone market to regain some of its momentum. First and foremost is that less than half the world’s population is currently using a smartphone, and markets like the Middle East and Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia still have plenty of room to grow. In addition, as consumers continue to demand more from their smartphones, we expect to see a large portion of the installed base that is currently using low-end devices begin to seek a more robust experience on more capable devices. Media consumption, gaming, augmented and virtual reality and constant connectivity are drivers of this trend.”
Google’s Android OS is expected to remain on top of the market with around 85 percent of the worldwide shipment volume, while the average selling prices (ASPs) of the units are lower than the competition. IDC expects 1.5 billion Android phone shipments in 2021, with an ASP of $198.
Shipped units running Apple’s iOS were down last year but are expected to grow 3.8 percent to about 224 million units by year’s end and to 240.4 million in 2018. The iOS market share should remain stable until 2021 at about 14.5 percent.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone comes in last with 1.1 million unit shipments expected this year. IDC points out that since Microsoft has yet to fully commit to any “Surface”-style attack for smartphones or to push new vendors to embrace the platform, the company is not expected to remain a mobile player in 2021.