The worldwide mobile phone market is forecast to grow 7.3% year over year in 2013, marking an importat step forward from the nearly flat...
smartphonesThe worldwide mobile phone market is forecast to grow 7.3% year over year in 2013, marking an importat step forward from the nearly flat (1.2%) growth experienced in 2012.

Strong demand for smartphones across all geographies will drive much of this growth as worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to surpass 1 billion units for the first time in a single year, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

The overall mobile phone market is growing faster than previously forecast thanks to a stronger-than-expected first half of the year driven by strong gains in emerging markets and the sub-$200 smartphone segment. IDC previously projected 5.8% growth for the year. Vendors are now forecast to ship more than 1.8 billion mobile phones this year, growing to over 2.3 billion mobile phones in 2017.

Worldwide smartphone shipments are forecast to grow 40.0% year over year to more than 1.0 billion units this year. High smartphone growth is the result of a variety of factors, including steep device subsidies from carriers, especially in mature economic markets, as well as a growing array of sub-$200 smartphones. Total smartphone shipments are forecast to reach 1.7 billion units in 2017.

Top Smartphone Operating Systems, Forecast Market Share and CAGR, 2013–2017 

Smartphone OS

2013 Market Share

2017 Market Share

Android

75.3%

68.3%

iOS

16.9%

17.9%

Windows Phone

3.9%

10.2%

BlackBerry OS

2.7%

1.7%

Others

1.2%

1.9%

Totals

100.0%

100.0%

 

“Two years ago, the worldwide smartphone market flirted with shipping half a billion units for the first time – to double that in just two years highlights the ubiquity that smartphones have achieved,” said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC’s Mobile Phone team. “The smartphone has gone from being a cutting-edge communications tool to becoming an essential component in the everyday lives of billions of consumers.”

“Smartphones will represent virtually all of the mobile phone market in many of the world’s most developed economies by the end of 2017,” said Kevin Restivo, Senior Research Analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker program.

Android remains the dominant smartphone operating system, a status that won’t change even though its share will decline somewhat as the market matures and competition solidifies.

iOS comes in second as the expected launch of a lower-cost iPhone will open up a wider addressable market. Apple will also grow faster in subsequent forecast years due to enterprise and emerging market share gains that will be driven in part by a likely deal with China Mobile, which will give it greater reach into one of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone markets.

Windows Phone will solidify its position as the number three operating system. With the acquisition of Nokia’s device and services unit, Microsoft will increasingly need to drive share gains by itself as OEM support for Windows Phone is expected to wane now that the company is set to become a full-fledged hardware maker.

BlackBerry OS share will decline markedly over the forecast due to tepid BlackBerry 10 reception and emboldened competition that are expected to whittle away share in its remaining regional bastions of strength, such as Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.

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