After declining 0.3% in 2017, the worldwide smartphone market is expected to contract again in 2018 to 0.2% in 2018 and reach 1.462 billion units, which is down from 1.465 billion in 2017.
Looking further out, IDC expects the market is to grow roughly 3% annually from 2019 onwards with worldwide shipment volume reaching 1.654 billion in 2022 and a five year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.5%.
Tough times are expected to continue in 2018 as IDC forecasts consumption in China to decline another 7.1% before flattening out in 2019. The biggest upside in Asia/Pacific continues to be India with volumes expected to grow 14% and 16% in 2018 and 2019. Chinese OEMs will continue their strategy of selling large volumes of low-end devices by shifting their focus from China to India.
Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers said, “Even though it declined 5% in 2017, China remains the focal point for many given that it consumes roughly 30% of the world’s smartphones. But plenty of pockets of growth can be found beyond China. India is now grabbing headlines and the market itself is going through some rapid transformation.”
Outside of Asia/Pacific, the biggest regions for growth will be the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. All three regions have relatively low penetration rates and plenty of upsides. Economic challenges have been the main inhibitor over the past two years, but IDC expects consumer spending to rise throughout the forecast and smartphones to be a big benefactor.
IDC predicts the first commercially ready 5G smartphones will appear in the second half of 2019 with a ramp up across most regions happening in 2020. IDC projects 5G smartphone volumes to account for roughly 7% of all smartphones in 2020 or 212 million in total. The share of 5G devices should grow to 18% of total volumes by 2022.
Android’s share of total smartphones is expected to remain relatively stable at 85% of total shipments worldwide. Volumes are expected to grow at a five-year CAGR of 2.5%, with shipments totaling 1.41 billion by 2022.
iPhone volumes are expected to grow 2.6% in 2018 to 221 million in total. IDC is forecasting iPhones to grow at a five-year CAGR of 2.4%, reaching volumes of 242 million by 2022.