Smartphone Growth Tipped To Drop To Single Digits In 2016

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2015 is likely to have been the last year of double-digit smartphone growth, according to an IDC survey. The researcher reports the last calendar year finished with 1.44 billion smartphone shipments worldwide, up 10.4 percent over 2014. But recent projections put 2016 shipments at 1.5 billion units, or just 5.7 percent growth over 2015.

The market will continue to see volumes shifting to the low end, with the aggregate market average selling price dropping from US$295 in 2015 to $237 in 2020, IDC says.

From a regional standpoint, mature markets like the USA, China, and Western Europe all hit single-digit growth in 2015, while high-growth markets such as India, Indonesia, the Middle East and Africa, and other pockets in South-East Asia, all remained healthy.

“The mature market slowdown has some grave consequences for Apple, as well as the high-end Android space, as these were the markets that absorbed the majority of the premium handsets that shipped over the past five years,” said Ryan Reith, program director with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

Still Android should have a pretty bumper year. IDC expects growth of 7.6 percent over the next 12 months, giving Google 82.6 percent of the worldwide market.

This will be fuelled by big-screened devices and phablets, with consumers still migrating upstream as device size including phablets continues to grow in popularity.

IDC says phablets now account for 20pc of all smartphone volumes in 2015, and tips volumes will grow to 32 percent in 2020 – or 610 million shipments.

Looking at the market by platforms, IDC said it expects Android shipments to grow from 1.17 billion in 2015 to 1.62 billion in 2020. But it notes only 14pc of shipped Android phones cost US$400 or greater, suggesting big challenges from the tiny margins.

Apple’s iOS experienced a “tremendous year” in 2015, with shipments hitting a record 231.5 million units for growth of 20.2pc over 2014, or nearly double that of the overall smartphone market. Its average selling price rose to $713 – a figure Android makers would kill for – but IDC tips 2016 to be relatively flat for Apple.

Windows Phone had a “challenging year” with shipments down 18pc to 11.1 million units, with roughly 95pc of that volume coming from Microsoft (or Nokia) branded devices, and few OEMs joining in.
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