Back in May earlier this year, analysts at US based market research firm IDC had stated that shipments of smartphones worldwide would grow 11.3 percent year over year. But just recently, the same team of IDC analysts are now saying that they are lowering their growth predictions for this year. From the previous forecast of 11.3 percent, the new projection is set at 10.4 percent. Either way, both percentages represent a very significant decline in growth compared to the 27.5 percent that the global smartphone market achieved last year.
Of course, a very important factor that contributes to the slower growth is the Chinese market, which is considered the biggest market of smartphones in the world right now, taking 32.3 percent of all new smartphone shipments in 2014. Because the smartphone market in China is now maturing, it is no longer exhibiting rapid growth, but instead slowing down, the same with smartphone markets in North America and Western Europe. IDC expects that 2015 shipments in China will grow just 1.2 percent this year, which is declining compared to the 19.7 percent growth last year. China’s share in the global smartphone market is also expected to decrease to 23.1 percent by the year 2019 as rapidly growing markets (like India, for instance) continue to expand.
According to Ryan Reith, the program director of IDC, India now has the most potential. Reith even thinks that mobile manufacturing might shift from China and Vietnam now to India in the next few years. As the demand for smartphones continue to rise in India, phone makers will undoubtedly try to establish manufacturing operations within the country in order to cut costs and to be where most of the action is.
IDC analysts also believe that in the next five years (2015 to 2019), Android will continue to lead in terms of market share among mobile operating systems. The reason for this is that emerging markets (countries with the most potential for growth) typically gravitate towards buying affordable mobile devices. This is why Android will enjoy an 81 percent share for this year, and is in good position to keep its lead in the years to come.
As for Android shipments worldwide, IDC expects them to grow from 1.06 billion units last year to 1.54 billion units by 2019. Meanwhile, iOS global shipments will rise from 192.7 million units in 2014 to 269.6 million units in 2019. Phablets, or smartphones that feature large display screens, will likely exhibit growth, especially in emerging markets, with 5.5 inch to 6 inch handsets growing 84 percent in 2015, and phablets overall grabbing more than 71 percent of all smartphone shipments by 2019.
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