Report: Smartphone Growth is Flat in 2016

Posted on November 30, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android, iOS, Mobile, Windows Phones with 21 Comments

Report: Smartphone Growth is Flat in 2016

The market researchers at IDC now say that smartphone sales growth will be almost non-existent, at 0.6 percent, for calendar year 2016. Devices makers will sell 1.445 billion smartphones this year, IDC states.

“Although growth remains positive, it is down significantly from the 10.4 percent growth in 2015,” the IDC report notes. But as with the similarly stagnant PC market, there are some bright spots, in this case 4G-capable phones. “4G smartphones are still expected to show double-digit uptake at 21.3 percent year-over-year growth globally for 2016, reaching 1.17 billion units.”

As you might imagine, Android remains dominant, with sales of 1.229 billion units, up 5.2 percent for the year. Android now controls 85 percent of the market, according to IDC.

Apple’s iOS remains in second place, having sold 206.1 million units, good for 14.3 percent of the market. But iOS’s market share continues to fall: Apple conceded another 11 percent, year-over-year.

Windows phone, on the verge of getting knocked into the “Other” category, is a disaster: IDC expects just 6.1 million Windows phones to be sold in 2016, down 79.1 percent year-over-year, and good for just 0.4 percent of the market. IDC notes that Windows phone was “a non-story in 2016” and that the platform has “a tough road ahead,” barring some miracle.

Looking ahead to 2020, IDC anticipates that Google will retain its stranglehold on the market, with 85.6 percent share. Apple iOS will remain at number two, with 14.2 percent share. And Windows phone will collapse further to just 0.1 percent of the market. The good news is that overall smartphone sales should be up by 4.8 percent by that time.

IDC, of course, is only one of a handful of firms that reports smartphone market share. When Gartner and other analysts provide their own data, I’ll prepare a Health of Tech report for the smartphone industry, similar to the preview report for the PC industry.


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