After a sluggish 2016, global smartphone shipments set to grow this year: IDC report
The innovation in this year’s Android flagship smartphones drive the positive sentiment, but it is the more affordable Android phones that still make for big numbers
New Delhi: The global smartphone market, which witnessed a slowdown in shipment volumes in 2016, is set to bounce back this year. Research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker estimates that shipment volumes will grow to 1.52 billion units in 2017, a 3% increase over the previous year.
Additionally, it is likely that the momentum will carry through into 2018 as well, with an expected growth of 4.5% in global shipment numbers compared with the total shipments we’ll see through to the end of 2017.
“Looking ahead, we continue to believe several factors will enable the smartphone market to regain some of its momentum. First and foremost is that less than half the world’s population is currently using a smartphone, and markets like the Middle East & Africa, Central & Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia still have plenty of room to grow. In addition, as consumers continue to demand more from their smartphones we expect to see a large portion of the installed base that is currently using low-end devices begin to seek a more robust experience on more capable devices. Media consumption, gaming, augmented and virtual reality, and constant connectivity are drivers of this trend,” said Ryan Reith, program vice-president, IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers.
The growth that we will perhaps witness this year will be because of the innovations that are driving the smartphone launches this year. Samsung bet big with the new display technology in the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+, LG bet big on the G6 and has done well, while the upcoming OnePlus 5 is expected to again make waves. And then there is the next generation iPhone, HTC’s bet with the 11 and Sony trying to find its feet again with the XZ Premium.
It is expected that Android will continue to keep hold of as much as 85% of the global smartphone market share, but it will be the low-end devices that drive the sales.
Expectations are that 1.5 billion Android smartphones will ship by the year 2021, but the average selling price will be just $198 (around Rs12,700). That is pretty much the price range of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (Rs12,999 for the 64GB storage and 4GB RAM variant) and the Moto G5 (Rs11,999 for the 16GB variant).
For the Apple iPhone, year 2016 was the first time that global shipments declined year-on-year. But Apple is expected to make a strong comeback in 2017, with the next generation iPhone expected later this year. There is expectation that Apple will ship 223.6 million iPhone units this year, which is an increase of 3.8% over the shipments in 2016.
With the new iPhone momentum is heading into 2018, IDC numbers suggest Apple will ship 240.4 million iPhones in that year.
The dismal Windows Phone scenario continues, with just 1.1 million units expected to ship in 2017—that will be a 80.9% decline over the 2016 shipment numbers.
It is a combination of lack of interest from app developers in the platform, Microsoft not yet being aggressive with Windows on smartphones and hardware partners not launching new devices. Unless the much rumoured “Surface Phone” turns out to be very real this year, there seems to be no stopping the Windows Phone slide.