Worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to “rebound slightly” in 2017, with momentum carrying into 2018, analyst house IDC predicted.
Growth of 2.5 per cent in 2016 was the lowest the industry ever experienced. For the full year 2017, growth will be 3 per cent, the company forecast, with a 4.5 per cent increase in 2018, “fuelled by improved economic conditions in many emerging markets and a full year of new iPhone shipments from Apple”.
Ryan Reith, programme VP with IDC, said: “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.”
IDC said the “other big topic” is the intense fight at the high end, with Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ launches “proving that last year’s Note 7 debacle is not going to alter the company’s plans for remaining number one”.
With Apple expected to push the boat out with its next-generation iPhone, this vendor is also set for a big year.
Anthony Scarsella, research manager for IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, said: “The display looks like it could be the next battlefield for the smartphone over the next couple years. We have seen both Samsung and LG opt for new borderless 18:9 displays and Apple could be set to join the party later this year.”
“As smartphone owners continue to consume media on their devices, the screen (bigger, brighter, and bolder) will be an integral part of the overall design language for each vendor.”