Smartphone growth to slow in 2014: IDC

Despite strong 2013, era of high margins may be over; single-digit expansion by 2017

Tags: International Data Corporation
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Smartphone growth to slow in 2014: IDC IDC expects smartphone shipments to keep growing, but at a decelerated rate.
By  Stephen McBride Published  February 27, 2014

Worldwide smartphone shipments will slow to 8.3% annual growth in 2017 and 6.2% in 2018, according to a new mobile phone forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

Annual smartphone volume in 2013 surpassed 1bn units for the first time, accounting for 39.2% growth over 2012. In the coming year, IDC expects mature markets like North America and Europe to drop to single digits, and Japan might contract slightly.

Despite the high growth expected in many emerging markets, 2014 will mark the year smartphone growth drops more significantly than ever before. 2014 volumes are expected to be 1.2bn, up from 1bn in 2013, representing 19.3% year-over-year growth.

"In North America we see more than 200m smartphones in active use, not to mention the number of feature phones still being used," said Ryan Reith, programme director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

"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. 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 mature markets become saturated and worldwide growth slows, service providers and device manufacturers are seeking opportunities to move hardware wherever they can. The result is rapidly declining price points, creating challenging environments in which to turn a profit. Worldwide smartphone average selling price (ASP) was $335 in 2013, and is expected to drop to $260 by 2018.

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