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IDC: Smartphone shipments to maintain positive growth to 2021

Paul Withers
August 30, 2017

IDC’s forecast claims this will increase from 1.47 billion to 1.7 billion units shipped 

Global smartphone shipments are expected to maintain positive growth through 2021, from 1.47 billion to 1.7 billion.

This is according to a new forecast from analyst IDC as part of its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

In 2016, the market experienced its first-ever single-digit growth year with shipments up 2.5 per cent, but it believes the combination of new user demand and a stagnant two-year replacement cycle will keep the market at a five year CAGR of 3.3 per cent.

IDC Worldwide Quarterly mobile Phone Tracker program vice president Ryan Reith said: “The big inflection point that everyone is watching for is when the smartphone market experiences its first year-over-year decline,”

“At the end of 2016, we estimated that about half of the world’s population was using a smartphone, which leaves plenty of room for additional first-time users.

“Despite very high saturation levels in mature markets like North America, Western Europe, Korea, and Japan, we still see the majority of users replacing their handsets roughly every two years. We expect these trends will hold through the forecast.”

IDC added that over the past couple of years, Apple has generally held 14-15 per cent share and Android 85 per cent of the operating system market, with the rest spread around “a few dying platforms”.

It claims this is unlikely to change through to 2021with android’s share rising marginally to 85.5 per cent and Apple’s dropping slightly to 14.4 per cent.

Bigger is better

The forecast concludes that the premium sector of the smartphone market will continue to grow, with the average selling price of a handset to increase by over seven per cent this year.

Premium phablet offerings from a number of manufacturers could be the main driving force behind devices with screens 5.5 inches and larger, which are set to grow over 34 per cent in 2017 across all operating systems. The ASP of these devices is also set to increase nine per cent.

Phablets are forecast to make up 40 per cent of the smartphone market this year and by 2021, this will rise to 51 per cent.

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