Smartphone growth to continue, growth rate slows, Windows Phone share moves up

Smartphone growth to continue, growth rate slows, Windows Phone share moves up
IDC expects 2012 to show a year-over-year growth of 1.4% in the mobile phone market. That is the lowest growth rate in the past three years, despite record sales.

IDC forecasts that global smartphone sales will reach 224.5 million units in the fourth quarter of this year. That represents 39.5% annual growth in that segment alone, driven by you the consumer. However, it is down a bit from expected growth of a little over 45% and unit sales will be short of the 717.5 million mark.

Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC pins that on the overall economy, “Sluggish economic conditions worldwide have cast a pall over the mobile phone market this year. However, the fourth quarter will be relatively bright due in part to sales of high-profile smartphones, such as the iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S3, in addition to lower-cost Android-powered smartphones shipped to China and other high-growth emerging markets.”

Smartphone operating systems will not see much movement at the top, but IDC predicts strong growth for Windows Phone 8, citing valuable experience learned by the carriers in offering an operating system whose user experience is an outlier in the smartphone segment. Android is forecast to be the leader in market share by a wide margin, with Samsung maintaining its position as lead manufacturer in that space. Expectations are that Android’s market share will compress from 68% this year, to about 64% in 2016. IDC made a point of noting that LG and Sony would be seen as resurgent brands for the year.

iOS will distinctly be in the number two spot, and Apple’s popularity will maintain steady growth. The price point of the iPhone, however will present a hindrance to Apple from making deep inroads to emerging markets. IDC floats the notion that Apple will need to consider a less expensive iPhone model to offer, or volume will always trail Android handsets.

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BlackBerry and Windows Phone will be in the most competitive contest for third place. BlackBerry will hold on to third place in the near term, but growth will be relatively flat despite continued strength in Indonesia and South America. Windows Phone on the other hand, is expected to take third spot from RIM sometime next year, “with Nokia establishing its presence and HTC solidly jumping back into the race.” Windows Phone will extend that lead further into 2016, possibly gaining as much market share as 11%. That growth will be aided by continued manufacturer buy-in, particularly from Samsung, ZTE and Huawei.

Linux was billed as a “dark horse” with K-Touch growing its volume and Haier introducing its first Linux powered smartphone. In addition, IDC will be looking to see what impact, if any, Samsung’s Tizen and Jolla’s SailFish will have on the market.

source: IDC

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