International Data Corp (IDC) on Wednesday forecast that global smartphone sales would cool this year before heating up next year with help from new 5G networks and India’s vibrant market.
An IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report expected smartphone sales to slip two-10ths of a percent this year to total 1.462 billion in a second straight year of slight decline.
However, IDC predicted that the smartphone market would reignite next year, growing about 3 percent annually to 1.654 billion in 2022.
The firm said the the “biggest driver” of the downturn last year was the China market, which it expected to be down 7.1 percent this year after shrinking 4.9 percent last year.
IDC forecast that the smartphone market in China would flatten out next year, while sales in India were expected to continue to boom on low-priced handsets sold by Chinese companies.
“China remains the focal point for many, given that it consumes roughly 30 percent of the world’s smartphones,” IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Tracker program vice president Ryan Reith said in a news release. “But, plenty of pockets of growth can be found beyond China.”
A “catalyst to watch” would be arrival next year of smartphones tailored for ultrafast 5G telecommunications networks, IDC said.
While smartphone shipments would ebb this year, the average selling price would rise more than 10 percent to US$345 and remain on an upward trend, IDC research manager Anthony Scarsella said.
“This year will continue to focus on the ultrahigh-end segment of the market, as we expect a surge of premium flagship devices to launch in developed markets,” Scarsella said.
A trend toward premium smartphones would play to Apple Inc’s strength, with IDC forecasting iPhone sales to grow 2.6 percent to 221 million this year and climb to 242 million by 2022.
Handsets powered by Google’s Android mobile operating system (OS) were expected to continue to dominate the smartphone market, with a share of about 85 percent remaining relatively stable over the next five years.
“There is no question that Android is the OS of choice for the mass market and nothing leads us to believe this will change,” IDC said in its forecast.
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