Worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to reach 1.46 billion units with a year-over-year growth rate of 1.6% in 2016 according to the latest forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
The rumored removal of the headphone jack on an “iPhone 7” and the expectation of a significant hardware refresh in 2017 – the tenth anniversary of the iPhone – are contributors to the first full-year decline in iPhone shipments in 2016. However, IDC does expect a rebound in 2017 and beyond as iPhones reach nearly a quarter billion units in 2020.
In terms of share, IDC doesn’t expect much to change as Android will maintain greater than 85% of the smartphone market
Although smartphone growth remains positive, it is down significantly from the 10.4% growth in 2015, according to IDC. Much of the slowdown is attributed to the decline expected in developed regions in 2016, while emerging markets continue with positive growth. Developed markets as a whole (United States, Canada, Japan, and Western Europe) are expected to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -0.2%, while emerging markets (Asia/Pacific excluding Japan, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Latin America) will experience a compound annual growth rate of 5.4% over the 2015-2020 forecast period, notes the research group.
Consumer preference for larger screens is expected to continue and the growing interest in AR/VR will only drive that forward as “phablets” (devices with 5.5 inches and larger) go from roughly one quarter of the smartphone market to one third by 2020.