Smartphone Growth Forecast Revised Downwards Even as 1.48 Billion Units Expected to be Shipped in 2016


1.48 billion smartphone units are expected to be shipped globally this year. While that will represent growth (by 3.1%) from the 1.43 billion smartphones shipped in 2015, it won’t be as high as it was between 2014 and 2015 when it hit a high of 10.5%.

According to research firm IDC, several factors can be attributed to the slow growth of smartphone shipments it is forecasting this year. They include the expected continued contraction of smartphone sales in key advanced smartphone markets in Europe and North America as well as China. In North America, for instance, the shift from 2-year carrier contracts which allowed people to change smartphones every now and then, is partly to blame. Elsewhere, changing consumer habits are to blame.

Of the 1.48 billion smartphones expected to be shipped in 2016, 1.24 billion (84%) will be Android smartphones

Even as that happens in the developed world where high-cost smartphones have dominated and continue to dominate, it is only premium smartphone sellers like Apple who will really feel the bite. Sales of the Apple iPhone are not expected to rise to the insane levels seen in previous years. 2016 is expected to be the year that Apple will see, for the first time ever, a dip in iPhone shipments (by 2% from 232 million in 2015 to 227 million in 2016).

On the other hand, buoyed by interest in budget smartphones which almost always run on Android, Google’s mobile operating system, Android OEMs are set to share the spoils for the 1.24 billion Android smartphones expected to be shipped this year.