Connections +
News

Worldwide mobile phone growth expected to drop to 1.4% in 2012: IDC

The worldwide mobile phone market is forecast to grow 1.4% year over year in 2012, the lowest annual growth rate in three years despite a projected record number of smartphone shipments in the high-volume holiday season.


December 5, 2012  


Print this page

The worldwide mobile phone market is forecast to grow 1.4% year over year in 2012, the lowest annual growth rate in three years despite a projected record number of smartphone shipments in the high-volume holiday season.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors will ship more than 1.7 billion mobile phones this year. In 2016, IDC forecasts 2.2 billion mobile phones will be shipped to the channel.

Global smartphone volume in the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12) is expected to reach 224.5 million units, representing 39.5% year-over-year growth due primarily to strong consumer demand. For the year, smartphone shipments are forecast to grow 45.1% year over year to 717.5 million units. Strong smartphone growth is a result of a variety of factors, including steep device subsidies from carriers, especially in mature economic markets where carriers resell the majority of smartphones, as well as a growing array of sub-US$250 smartphones in emerging markets.

“Sluggish economic conditions worldwide have cast a pall over the mobile phone market this year,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “However, the fourth quarter will be relatively bright due in part to sales of high-profile smartphones, such as the iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S3, in addition to lower-cost Android-powered smartphones shipped to China and other high-growth emerging markets.”

IDC forecasts Android to be the clear leader in the smartphone mobile operating system race, thanks in large part to a broad selection of devices from a wide range of partners: “Samsung is the leading Android smartphone seller though resurgent smartphone vendors LG Electronics and Sony, both of which cracked the top five smartphone vendors during 3Q12, are not to be overlooked. IDC believes the net result of this will be continued double-digit growth throughout the forecast period.”

iOS will maintain its position as the clear number two platform behind Android at the end of 2012 and throughout the forecast. 

According to IDC, the BlackBerry OS will grow slowly but largely maintain share over the coming years following the BlackBerry 10 launch next year. The new operating system and devices will be valued by some longtime BlackBerry fans, particularly those who have waited for the new OS as Research In Motion delayed its release. This will allow the company to maintain pockets of strength in higher-growth emerging markets such as Indonesia and various Latin American countries. But, as with many other new platforms, the success of BB 10 will be partly dependent upon channel advocacy, like sales associates who can effectively tell the BlackBerry story.

Windows Phone will battle with BlackBerry for the number three spot in 2013, but will gain further clarity in the years that follow, the research firm said in a release.