IDC: 2016 smartphone sales to finish up 3.1% over 2015, Windows phones at 0.4% share by 2020

International Data Corporation (IDC) have released their latest forecasted numbers for the smartphone shipments, which are expected to increase by 5 percent by 2020 with shipments expected to hit 1.84 billion units. The current year forecasted shipments are expected to reach 1.48 billion smartphones.

As far as the growth rates per regions are concerned, IDC expects United States, Western Europe, and China to grow by single digit numbers in terms of shipments this year, while Canada and Japan are expected to see 6.4 and 6.9 percent growth, respectively.

"Consumers everywhere are getting savvy about how and where they buy their smartphones, and this is opening up new doors for OEMs and causing some traditional channels to lose some control of the hardware flow," said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "Smartphones sold into eTailer channels grew 65% in 2015 and are expected to account for roughly 12% of smartphone shipments in 2016, up from just 4% in 2013. Consumers are having more say over which brands they want and at the same time able to bargain shop."

As for Windows Phone, its shipments are expected to decline by 9.5 percent to just 6.8 million units, capturing a negligible market share of 0.4 percent. Things aren't looking too great for the Redmond-based company. Microsoft has already sold the feature phone business it acquired from Nokia to Foxconn so it can solely focus on the development of Windows 10 Mobile operating system.

Rumors suggest that Microsoft is working on a Surface Phone, but we haven't seen any concrete evidence about its existence. Even if it does exist, it's not going change the situation as Microsoft has to convince more OEMS to jump on the Windows Phone bandwagon if it really wants to compete with Android and iOS. And yes, Microsoft needs more high quality apps in the Windows Store, or some exclusive ones to differentiate itself from its competitors.

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