Fri, Feb 28, 2014 - Page 15 News List

IDC forecasts smartphone slowdown to 6.2% in 2018


Visitors rest inside a bubble at the terrace at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

Smartphone shipment growth will slow to 6.2 percent in 2018 from 19 percent this year now that many consumers in markets like North America and Europe already have devices like the iPhone or Galaxy S5, research firm IDC said.

Smartphone makers will deliver 1.2 billion devices this year after passing the billion mark last year, IDC said on Wednesday in a statement. Still, growth for this year will decline from 38 percent last year, the most significant slowdown yet, the firm said.

To encourage users to replace their devices with new models, iPhone maker Apple Inc has been developing designs including bigger screens with curved glass. Manufacturers like Samsung Electronics Co, which sells the Galaxy, are also branching out into other gadgets, such as Internet-connected watches.

While IDC expects Google Inc’s Android to maintain its dominant lead as the biggest smartphone operating system, its share of the market will drop to 76 percent in 2018 from 79 percent this year, IDC said. Apple’s iOS will slide to 14 percent from 15 percent, while Microsoft Corp’s Windows Phone will climb to 7 percent from 3.9 percent, the Framingham, Massachusetts-based research firm said.

BlackBerry Ltd, once the world’s biggest smartphone maker, will see market share for its operating system dwindle to 0.3 percent from 1 percent in the period, IDC said.

Meanwhile, Huawei Technologies Co (華為), the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, forecast that it will sell as many as 100 million smartphones this year, nearly twice last year’s number.

Eric Xu (徐直軍), the Shenzhen, China-based company’s deputy chairman and rotating chief executive officer, predicted Huawei will sell between 80 million and 100 million smartphones this year, with emphasis on mobiles priced at 300 euros (US$410) and more.

“We’re far from being a dominant player with our brand in the consumer space,” Xu told reporters on Wednesday, speaking through a translator at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. “Our strategy is to build the Huawei brand — if our brand was as strong as Apple or Samsung, we could charge as much as them.”

The company shipped more than 50 million smartphones last year, Xu said. Last year’s sales trailed only Samsung and Apple as the Chinese company boosted its share of the global market to 4.9 percent from 4 percent in 2012. Xu said Huawei aims to increase its market share to 8 percent this year.

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