Global Smartphone Market Projections Raised 10% for the Year, reports IDC

Published 10th September

In an interesting analysis this week from International Data Corporation (IDC), they provide a stark view of the likely changes in the mobile market over the next few years. The report looks at the market share of core Smartphone mobile operating systems, trends of the industry today and provides a prediction of the future shape of the market. The industry is certainly set to see significant changes in the near future, whilst some results are not surprising it is interesting to view some of the key predictions.

Probably the most surprising to many will be that the Apple iOS is likely to lose plenty of ground and market share in the process. While too many this may seem unlikely right now with the fact that the iPhone 4 has been able to sell millions in a matter of days, it is actually quite plausible. Apple is slowly losing its advantage with no real innovative and ground breaking products in the pipe. By simply sticking to tried and tested formulas, the consumer market is slowly losing interest and is focusing on other platforms that continue to grow with more features and better functionality.

So with the Apple iPhone series weakened, this provides significant opportunity for Google and Microsoft – Both forecast to make significant ground. Although Symbian is forecast to loose Smartphone market share they still will be a major global player with some 33% share.

Operating System 2010 Market Share 2014 Market Share 2014/2010 Change  
Symbian 40.1% 32.9% -18.0%
BlackBerry OS 17.9% 17.3% -3.5%
Android 16.3% 24.6% 51.2%
iOS 14.7% 10.9% -25.8%
Windows Mobile 6.8% 9.8% 43.3%
Others 4.2% 4.5% 8.3%
Total 100.0% 100.0%  


So what do IDC say:

The worldwide market for converged mobile devices (also commonly referred to as smartphones) is expected to grow 55.4% this year compared to 2009 amid greater-than-expected demand for the do-it-all devices. This is 10% higher than the previous forecast from the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

IDC now expects mobile phone vendors to ship 269.6 million converged mobile devices this year compared to the 173.5 million units shipped in 2009. The increased market forecast for smartphones comes amid the launch of several new models, such as the BlackBerry Torch, EVO 4G, and the iPhone 4, in recent months.

“The smartphone is the catalyst behind the rebound in the worldwide mobile phone market this year,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “Additional product introductions and an expected flurry of smartphone buying activity in the second half of the year will push the market well above previous expectations.”

For the first half of 2010, vendors shipped a total of 119.4 million units or 55.5% more than the 76.8 million units shipped during the first half of 2009.

“As the worldwide smartphone market continues to grow at a strong rate, the market dynamics among mobile operating systems continue to shift,” said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team. “Longtime operating systems leaders BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile are about to or have already launched refreshed operating systems to compete with recent newcomers Android and iOS. The latter operating systems have taken away both mindshare and market share from the old regime, and have helped propel the market forward.”

“Android is the wild card, deserving close observation for the rest of this year and the years to come,” added Llamas. “Phone vendors have been drawn to Android because it allows them to present their own approach to what a smartphone experience can be. In addition, users have quickly warmed to Android, comparing it to iOS due to its ease of use and a growing mobile application storefront. Now that HTC and Motorola have leapt out in front with their own respective devices, other vendors such as Dell, Kyocera, LG Electronics, and Samsung will soon help grow the Android market.”

The accelerated smartphone growth will translate into a better overall market performance this year. IDC now expects the 2010 overall mobile phone market to grow 14.1%, or 1.5% higher than its previous forecast. Last year, the market declined 2.8%, the first such occurrence in Mobile Phone Tracker history.

The outlook for 2011 is also very strong. Despite uncertainty about the economy, the smartphone market is expected to increase 24.5% in 2011. However, smartphone growth will decline progressively over the course of IDC’s five-year forecast period. In 2014, for example, the market is expected to rise by just 13.6%.

Nonetheless, there is ample room for multiple players to grow. No one smartphone OS will dominate mobile phones in the way that Microsoft has with Windows on the personal computer. “IDC believes the market will comfortably support up to five OS players over the next five years,” Restivo noted. “Shorter replacement cycles and an ample feature phone to smartphone upgrade opportunity means the smartphone OS market will remain fragmented but healthy for the foreseeable future.”

Symbian will maintain its number one standing throughout the forecast period with 32.9% share in 2014. However, it will lose share, primarily to Android, which is expected to grow its share fastest over the forecast period, rising from 16.3% to 24.6%. Meanwhile, Windows Mobile is expected to regain some of the share it has lost over the past two years and BlackBerry’s share will remain relatively constant while that of iOS will decline gradually.

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