The market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts the smartphone market will continue to rise, but at a slower pace, and will grow to 1.9 billion by 2018 with a compound growth rate of 9.8 percent for the 2014 to 2018 period. Despite the growth in shipments, they forecast the market share of Android and iOS will fall slightly to 80 and 12.8 percent respectively in 2018.
"The impact of upstart Chinese players in the global market will be reflected in a race to the bottom when it comes to price. While premium phones aren't going anywhere, we are seeing increasingly better specs in more affordable smartphones. Consumers no longer have to go with a top-of-the-line handset to guarantee decent hardware quality or experience," said Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "The biggest question now is how much lower can prices go?"
Furthermore, they also forecast the Windows Phone market share to double over the course of next four years, and rise to 5.6 percent in 2018 from 2.7 percent in 2014. At the moment, Windows Phone resides at 2.7 percent market share which translates to almost 35 million units shipped by the end of 2014. The firm forecasts the number to rise to 105 million by the end of 2018, which is more than double. As for Android and iPhones, the number of units shipped will grow, but at a slow pace, with Android shipments amounting to almost 1.5 billion units while, iOS will be at 240 million units by 2018.
IDC believes it will come down to the price of the smartphones in the coming years, with low-end to mid-range smartphones gaining more popularity, especially in developing markets like India. The current average selling price is estimated to be $297, which is expected to go as low as $241 by 2018. In emerging markets like India, the prices are going to be even lower. At the moment, its US$135, which is expected to fall to US$102 by 2018. So this show how popular and competitive the entry-level segment is going to be in the coming years.
Well, let's just make one thing clear, it's just a mere forecast from the analysts, which is not always correct. There's always a chance that things may turn out to be different, and there's a possibility that Windows Phone may grab more than the market share forecasted by analysts.