Smartphone shipments are forecast to grow 11.3 per cent in 2015, compared with 27.6 per cent in 2014, but despite the slowdown “many markets will experience robust growth in 2015 and beyond”, according to research firm IDC.
The company said that it expects the year to bring “two notable milestones”. Firstly, this will be the first year in which China’s smartphone growth, forecast to be 2.5 per cent, will be slower than the worldwide market. And secondly (and somewhat related), Android smartphone growth is also expected to be slower than worldwide market growth, at 8.5 per cent.
The company expects both trends to continue throughout its forecast period, which now runs to 2019.
Apple had faced a similar situation in 2012 to 2014, when its year-on-year growth rates were “slightly below” the worldwide market. But its recent shift to bigger screen models with a broader country reach had “an immediate impact on volume”, IDC said, with it now forecasting above market growth throughout the period.
Ryan Reith, program director for IDC’s worldwide quarterly mobile phone tracker, said: “As reported earlier in May, smartphone shipments in China actually declined year over year in the first quarter of 2015, showing that the largest market in the world has reached a level of maturity where rapid growth will be harder to achieve. This has implications for Android because China has been a critical market for Android smartphone shipments in recent years, accounting for 36 per cent of total volume in 2014.”
The company is also bullish on Windows Phone, forecasting 46.8 million shipments in 2015 (giving a 3.2 per cent market share), growing to 103.5 million (5.4 per cent share) in 2019 – again representing a faster than market growth.
IDC forecasts that worldwide shipment volumes are forecast to reach 1.9 billion units annually by 2019.