Worldwide growth in the smartphone market is slowing rapidly owing to market saturation and maturity in China, according to new data from IDC.
The analyst firm's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report said that smartphone shipments will grow by 10.4 percent in 2015 over 2014, to hit 1.44 billion units. This is far lower than the 23.8 percent increase in 2014 over 2013.
IDC explained that the cause for this slowing growth is China, where smartphone shipments will grow by just 1.2 percent in 2015, down on the huge 19.7 percent growth in 2014. Rival analyst firm Gartner also recently blamed China for slowing smartphone shipment growth.
Ryan Reith, programme director at IDC, said that even with slowing growth China will remain the biggest market for smartphone shipments, but that other nations like India are becoming more important.
"India has captured a lot of the attention that China previously received and it's now the market with the most potential upside,” he added. “The interesting thing to watch will be the possibility of manufacturing moving from China and Vietnam over to India.”
Android remains far and away the market leader for shipment share, and is set to account for 81.1 percent of the total shipments at 1.16 billion in 2015. Apple’s iOS platform will take second place with 15.6 percent and Windows Phone third with 2.6 percent.
Looking to the future, Android will retain its dominance of the smartphone market, and IDC predicted that it will still have an 81 percent market share by 2019.
Meanwhile, Apple will lose some market share, dropping to 14.2 percent, although shipments will increase from 223.7 million in 2015 to 270 million in 2018.
Windows Phone should see its market share grow by one percent to 3.6 percent, with shipments reaching around 67.8 million.
Overall, IDC predicted that smartphone shipments will reach 1.902 billion by 2019, an increase of 5.1 percent on 2015.
With regards to the type of devices that are set to dominate the market in the future, Anthony Scarsella, research manager at IDC, said that Apple’s introduction of its own phablets has cemented this form factor as the de facto smartphone size.
"Since Apple finally delivered a larger screen smartphone with the iPhone 6+, the demand for large screened devices among consumers has been at a record high," he said.
Apple is due to unveil its next smartphones at an event on 9 September, and expectations are high for new versions of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and possibly a new cheaper version likely to be called the iPhone 6C.
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