The year 2015 is going to be the first year of single-digit worldwide smartphone growth, according to a new forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC).
IDC predicts worldwide smartphone shipments will grow 9.8 percent in 2015 to a total of 1.43 billion units. IDC updated its previous forecast to reflect slowing growth in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Latin America, and western Europe.
The slower growth is expected to intensify slightly over the 2015-19 forecast period and is largely attributed to lower shipment forecasts for windows phone as well as "alternative platforms" (phones running operating systems other than android, iOS, and windows).
China has been the focal point of the smartphone market in recent quarters as its economic slowdown has dampened worldwide growth due to the sheer size of the market. However, IDC maintains its view that China has largely become a replacement market.
As a result, shipment growth in China is only forecast to be in the low single digits. The Middle East & Africa (MEA) region will see the highest growth in 2015 with shipments expected to increase nearly 50 percent year over year, surpassing "hot growth" markets like India and Indonesia.
"With the smartphone market finally slowing to single-digit growth, maintaining momentum will depend on several factors," said Ryan Reith, programme director with IDC's worldwide quarterly mobile phone tracker.
"The main driver has been and will continue to be the success of low-cost smartphones in emerging markets," he added. IDC believes the proliferation of the core android platform will continue. Given its global footprint and application/services ecosystem, IDC expects some form of android to hold a dominant share of the smartphone OS space for the foreseeable future.