What does the future hold for the smartphone market? Research firm IDC thinks it knows the answer based on its data. First, we should point out that the company expects 1.2 billion smartphones to be shipped globally this year, a 21% improvement over the 1 billion shipped last year. By 2018, IDS sees 1.8 billion smartphones shipping, for a 12.3% annual growth rate from 2013 through that year.
While the number of smartphones getting shipped is going up, IDC sees the price going down. From an average selling price of $314 this year (down 6.3% from $335 last year), prices should continue dropping to reach an average selling price of $267 in 2018. That could be due to a decline in component parts, or thanks to heavy demand for low-end models in emerging markets.
IDC expects Android to have a controlling 80.2% share of the global smartphone market this year, dropping slightly to 77.6% in 2018, due to the percentage growth of Windows Phone devices. From $254 this year, the average selling price of an Android phone will be down to $215 in 2018, according to IDC.Even with larger sized-iPhone models rumored to be coming to market this year
, IDC sees iOS with a 13.7% share of the global smartphone market, down from the 14.8% slice of the pie that the iPhone owned in 2013. From a 20% year-over-year growth rate in 2014, the iPhone's annual growth rate will slump to 6.1% by 2018, more in line with the entire smartphone market.
"What makes smartphone growth so amazing is where the growth will be taking place. Smartphone shipments will more than double between now and 2018 within key emerging markets, including India, Indonesia, and Russia. In addition, China will account for nearly a third of all smartphone shipments in 2018. These – and other markets – will offer multiple opportunities to vendors and carriers alike, but the key will be balancing affordability with expectations."-Ramon Llamas, Research Manager, IDC’s Mobile Phone team
"Until recently, low cost has equaled poor quality in the smartphone space. Given the competition at the high end, vendors like Motorola are trying to skate to where the puck is going by offering extremely affordable devices like the Moto E, which offer a ‘good enough’ experience that will suit the needs of many. This goes to show that components that were used 2-3 years back in high-end smartphones are still sufficient in many aspects, and ultimately will allow vendors to come to the table with viable low-cost solutions."-Ryan Reith, Program Director, IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker
Windows Phone is expected to show strong 29.5% growth in 2014. From 43.3 million units shipped this year, equaling 3.5% of the market, 115.3 million Windows Phone flavored handsets are expected to ship by 2018. That represents a stellar compounded annual growth rate of 28.1%.
Lastly, BlackBerry is forecast to ship 49.6% fewer handsets this year, dropping to 9.7 million units. IDC forecasts further declines until just 4.6 million BlackBerry smartphones are shipped by 2018. That represents a negative 25% compounded annual growth rate from 2013 through 2018.
We can all check back at the end of 2018 to see how IDC fared with its predictions.
IDC expects Android to continue its domination of the global smartphone market by 2018