IDC Expects Smartphone Growth to Slow to Single Digits by 2017

Paul Lilly

Smartphone growth won't be explosive forever

Hardware makers are in a mad rush to cash in on the mobile craze, including smartphones, which are hot ticket items right now. However, growth in the smartphone sector won't always be astronomical, as has mostly been the case up to this point. Instead, market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that smartphone growth will drop to single-digit territory within the next few years.

Based on IDC's research, worldwide smartphone shipments could dip to an 8.3 percent annual growth rate in 2017 and 6.2 percent in 2018. As it stands, smartphone volume in 2013 jumped past 1 billion units for the first time, representing a staggering 39.2 percent growth rate compared to 2012.

As impressive as that is, 2014 will mark the beginning of slowed growth, IDC says.

"In North America we see more than 200 million smartphones in active use, not to mention the number of feature phones still being used," said Ryan Reith , Program 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."

Though smartphone demand might be changing, IDC doesn't see much changing in terms of platform choice. Throughout its forecast, IDC expects Android to remain on top with iOS remaining a clear No. 2, followed by Windows Phone and BlackBerry.

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