Mature markets drag down smartphone shipment growth

Smartphone shipment growth will slow in the coming years, especially in mature markets, predicts market research firm IDC.

By contrast, emerging markets will continue to be a strong market for smartphone shipments, pushing the worldwide smartphone shipments up 23.8 percent this year to 1.25 billion units. In 2014, emerging market smartphone volume is forecast to make up 73.5 percent of all volume shipped.

Looking ahead, mature markets will continue to hold back worldwide smartphone shipment growth, with smartphone shipments to slow to a 12.7 percent compound annual growth rate through 2018.

"The key for vendors now is to maintain a presence in the higher-margin mature markets, while establishing a sustainable presence within the fast-growing emerging markets. To enable this strategy, operating system companies are partnering with OEMs to provide low-cost handsets," says Ramon Llamas, research manager with IDC's mobile phone team.

According to IDC, mature markets include the U.S., Western Europe, Japan and Canada, while emerging markets include Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Android is a particularly popular mobile operating system in emerging markets. "The support that Google's Android platform has received from over 150 handset manufacturers has allowed it to gain the share it has in emerging markets," says Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

"The lack of constraints around hardware and software specifications has helped bring to market many low-cost products, a lot of which could be considered borderline junk. With Google's recent announcement of Android One, they hope to change this by laying out a set of standards for manufacturers to follow," Reith adds.

For more:
- check out IDC's release

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