So far, 2016 has been a grim year for Windows Phone as sales have fallen off a cliff following Microsoft’s strategy changes as well as timid support from OEMs. Indeed, While Microsoft slashed the prices of its latest Lumia smartphones over the last few months, third-party OEMs such as HP and Alcatel have brought new premium Windows 10 Mobile handsets on the market though these efforts have yet to move the needle in a significant way.
Today, market intelligence company IDC released its latest Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker data, forecasting 1.45 billion smartphone sales in 2016 (+0.6% YoY) and dismal 0.4% market share for Windows Phone with only 6.1 million units sold. In 2020, IDC expects Windows Phone sales to decrease to just 1 million, which would then represent just 0.1% of the global smartphone market. According to IDC, it will now be very difficult for Microsoft to turn things around in the future:
Microsoft’s mobile platform remained largely a non-story in 2016 other than HP’s reentry into the smartphone space with the X3 product. IDC projects Windows Phone shipments to decline 79.1% in 2016 as the number of OEMs supporting the platform continue to diminish. Rumors of a Surface Phone from Microsoft continue to linger, but the drawn out hurdle of a much needed mobile ecosystem has not gone away. Unless Microsoft has a way to get around this, IDC anticipates a tough road ahead for the platform.
While IDC forecasts worldwide smartphone sales to reach 1.71 billion in 2020, the company doesn’t expect the balance of power between Google and Apple to move significantly in the next four years, with Android and iOS maintaining their 85% and 14% market share, respectively. And while IDC highlighted that 2016 could be the first year of declining shipments for Apple’s iPhones (-11% YoY), the company expects the Cupertino giant to return back to growth next year for the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. “Look for Apple to mix things up with whatever version(s) they bring to market in the coming year to hopefully rebound shipment growth,” explained IDC.