Smartphone market growth peaked in 2013 after a staggering 39 percent growth over 2012 as one billion devices were shipped, according to data from IDC.
The research house said the demand seen in 2013 would likely represent the zenith of the market, though, as growth will slow in 2014 to 19.3 percent, although this will still mean an increase in shipments to 1.2 billion.
Growth will fall further in 2017 to 8.3 percent and then to 6.2 percent in 2018, IDC predicts, as western markets become increasingly saturated with smartphones. By 2018 IDC expects shipments to hit 1.7 billion.
Unsurprisingly, the operating system pegged to lead this charge is Android, with the platform set for a market share of 79 percent in 2014. By 2018 IDC predicts that this will have fallen slightly to 76 percent, with only iOS anywhere near, with 14.4 percent of the market.
Windows Phone will still be in the single digits at seven percent of the market, although this will almost double its 3.9 percent market share in 2014. Things look bleak for BlackBerry, though, with just 0.3 percent of the market left for the firm by 2018, according to IDC.
Ryan Reith, program director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, which produced the research, said the fall in growth would force manufacturers to focus on new market areas to maintain sales.
"2014 will be an enormous transition year for the smartphone market. Not only will growth decline more than ever before, but the driving forces behind smartphone adoption are changing,” he said.
“New markets for growth bring different rules to play by and 'premium' will not be a major factor in the regions driving overall market growth."
As such, the average selling price of an Android smartphone is predicted to fall from $247 in 2014 to $202 by 2018, IDC estimates, while Windows Phone devices will start to retail for $195 by this date, down from $265 in 2014.
Those hoping for drastically cheaper iPhones will be left disappointed, though, with Apple set to maintain its premium position as prices drop by just 1.2 percent from $649 to $610.
The need for cheaper devices to target emerging markets is seen as key for firms such as Nokia to increase their market share. Nokia unveiled a range of budget Android devices at Mobile World Congress this week to meet this demand.
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