According to a new report by the International Data Corporation (IDC), the worldwide mobile phone market is forecast to grow 7.3% year over year in 2013. This growth is driven by strong demand for smartphones across all geographies will drive much of this growth as worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to surpass 1 billion units for the first time in a single year, according the report states.
The report points to a stronger-than-expected growth in the first half of the year driven by strong gains in emerging markets and the sub-$200 smartphone segment. Vendors are now forecast to ship more than 1.8 billion mobile phones this year, growing to over 2.3 billion mobile phones in 2017, according to the report.
“Two years ago, the worldwide smartphone market flirted with shipping half a billion units for the first time – to double that in just two years highlights the ubiquity that smartphones have achieved,” said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC’s Mobile Phone team. “The smartphone has gone from being a cutting-edge communications tool to becoming an essential component in the everyday lives of billions of consumers.”
“Smartphones will represent virtually all of the mobile phone market in many of the world’s most developed economies by the end of 2017,” said Kevin Restivo, Senior Research Analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker program. “Aggressive carrier subsidies of handsets, falling prices, higher consumer awareness, and a vast array of devices will mean almost all phones shipped to the developed world will be ‘smart.’ However, smartphone shipment volume will be dominated by emerging markets, such as China, even though the percentage of smartphones to feature phones won’t be as high.”
Top Smartphone Operating Systems, Forecast Market Share and CAGR, 2013–2017
2013 Market Share
2017 Market Share
Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, September 4, 2013
Smartphone Operating Systems
“Underpinning the smartphone market is an evolving market for operating systems,” added Llamas. “We believe Android and iOS will remain the clear number one and two platforms, respectively, throughout our forecast. What remains to be seen is how Windows Phone and BlackBerry’s respective futures will play out pending their recent announcements. Windows Phone has inched ahead of BlackBerry during the first half of 2013, and we believe that will extend into the future. However, overall shipments will continue to trail those of Android and iOS.”
According to the report:
Android remains the dominant smartphone operating system, a status that won’t change even though its share will decline somewhat as the market matures and competition solidifies. The sheer volume of devices at a wide range of price points combined with Google’s backing and a growing application library will keep Android atop the smartphone O.S. heap. Samsung remains the world’s top seller of Android-based smartphones, while the resurgence of LG and Sony have also contributed to its success in recent quarters.
iOS will remain the clear number two operating system as the expected launch of a lower-cost iPhone will open up a wider addressable market. Apple will also grow faster in subsequent forecast years due to enterprise and emerging market share gains that will be driven in part by a likely deal with China Mobile, which will give it greater reach into one of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone markets. iOS share gains will be tempered by the relatively high price points of the iPhone, which makes for a lower share ceiling.
Windows Phone will solidify its position as the number three O.S. with incremental share gains over the course of the forecast. With the acquisition of Nokia’s device and services unit, Microsoft will increasingly need to drive share gains by itself as OEM support for Windows Phone is expected to wane now that the company is set to become a full-fledged hardware maker. Microsoft will also need to ship more low-cost smartphones to high-growth emerging markets if it is to continue building on its recent nominal share increases.
BlackBerry OS share will decline markedly over the forecast due to tepid BlackBerry 10 reception and emboldened competition that are expected to whittle away share in its remaining regional bastions of strength, such as Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. BlackBerry volume will remain flat as the market expands around it thanks to enterprises with security or other specialised needs that continue to purchase devices from the company.