IDC Predicts First Smartphone Industry Downturn

“This has never happened before. The global smartphone market is posting its first single-digital growth year on record, which actually signifies a downturn in consumer demand.”

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According to the latest Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker from market research firm IDC. IDC predicts worldwide shipments will grow 9.8% to hit 1.43 billion units this year, thanks in part to slowing growth in Latin America, Western Europe and the Asia Pacific. The slower-than-expected growth actually signifies an industry downturn.  And that’s not the worst of the bad news for smartphone makers. That slowing growth is going to get even slowing through 2019, IDC predicts, due largely to lower Windows Phone sales, as well as fewer sales of phones running platforms outside Android, iOS and Windows Phone.  Anthony Scarsella, a research manager with IDC’s Mobile Phones team, expects consumers to migrate toward affordable high-value handsets and financing options on pricier models. He predicts handset makers will try to push device financing and trade-in options across many of the developed markets as growth in these markets is expected to primarily come from replacement purchases and second devices.

“Apple has taken the lead with its iPhone Upgrade Program, and several other vendors are expected to implement similar plans in the months ahead,” Scarsella said. “These plans could represent the most effective way to get flagship devices into the hands of consumers while speeding up the upgrade cycle through trade-in and incentives.”

Looking at mobile operating systems, IDC bets Android’s market share, which currently sits at 81 percent, will rise to 82% by 2019. Apple’s iOS has climbed 7.6% of the market and IDC’s forecasts calls for the operating system to hover at the 14 – 15% range, seeing boosts around product launches.

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