Economic woes slow mobile phone market: survey

June 6, 2012
French MPs take pictures with their mobile phones at the National Assembly in March. The worldwide mobile phone market is expected to grow this year at its slowest pace since 2009, hurt by sluggish economic conditions, a survey showed Wednesday.

The worldwide mobile phone market is expected to grow this year at its slowest pace since 2009, hurt by sluggish economic conditions, a survey showed Wednesday.

The research firm IDC said global shipments will rise an estimated four percent in 2012, with many users of older phones holding on to their devices before switching to a smartphone.

The consultancy said a total of nearly 1.8 billion mobile phones will be shipped this year, compared to 1.7 billion in 2011.

By the end of 2016, IDC forecasts sales of 2.3 billion mobile phones.

IDC projected a 10 percent drop in sales of "feature phones" this year.

"Many owners of feature phones, sometimes known as 'talk and text' devices, are holding on to their phones in light of uncertain job and economic prospects," IDC said.

"Despite the decline in shipments, feature phones will still comprise 61.6 percent of the total this year."

The number of smartphones sold will grow 38.8 percent to 686 million units this year, IDC said.

"The smartphone parade won't be as lively this year as it has been in past," said Kevin Restivo, senior with IDC.

"The mobile phone user transition from feature phones to smartphones will continue in a gradual but unabated fashion. Smartphone growth, however, will increasingly be driven by a triumvirate of smartphone operating systems, namely Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7."

According to IDC, the Android operating system will boost its share of the smartphone market to 61 percent, but then taper off amid competition from others, including those using .

"Android will maintain leadership throughout our forecast, while others will gain more partnerships (Apple) or currently find themselves in the midst of a major transition (BlackBerry and /Windows Mobile)," IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said.

"What remains to be seen is how these different operating systems -- as well as others -- will define and shape the user experience beyond what we see today in order to attract new customers and encourage replacements."

The IDC report sees the strongest growth in the coming years from Windows smartphones, from 5.2 percent of the market this year to 19.2 percent in 2016.

During the same period, the Apple iPhone will see its market share slip from 20.5 percent to 19 percent, with the number of iPhones growing at a slower pace than the overall market.

IDC sees the BlackBerry holding virtually unchanged from six percent of the market in 2012 to 5.9 percent in 2016.

"There will continue to be a market for BlackBerry OS-powered devices, despite Research In Motion's current woes," IDC said.

"This is true in emerging markets, for example, where users are looking for affordable messaging devices," IDC said.

"However, the gulf between the BlackBerry OS and its primary competition will widen over the forecast as the market becomes increasingly software/app-oriented and the 'bring your own device' enterprise trend proliferates.

Explore further: Smartphone market to grow 50 percent in 2011: IDC

Related Stories

Smartphone market to grow 50 percent in 2011: IDC

March 29, 2011

The worldwide smartphone market will grow nearly 50 percent this year and Google's Android will take over as the leading operating system, a technology market research firm said Tuesday.

China smartphone market 'to overtake US'

March 16, 2012

China is set to be the biggest smartphone market this year after shipments in the second-half of 2011 outstripped the US, a technology research firm said.

Market research firm ups tablet forecast

September 14, 2011

With tablet computer sales soaring -- led by Apple's iPad -- a market research company boosted its forecast on Wednesday for shipments of the devices.

Recommended for you

Your (social media) votes matter

January 24, 2017

When Tim Weninger conducted two large-scale experiments on Reddit - otherwise known as "the front page of the internet" - back in 2014, the goal was to better understand the ripple effects of malicious voting behavior and ...

Protective wear inspired by fish scales

January 24, 2017

They started with striped bass. Over a two-year period the researchers went through about 50 bass, puncturing or fracturing hundreds of fish scales under the microscope, to try to understand their properties and mechanics ...

'Droneboarding' takes off in Latvia

January 22, 2017

Skirted on all sides by snow-clad pine forests, Latvia's remote Lake Ninieris would be the perfect picture of winter tranquility—were it not for the huge drone buzzing like a swarm of angry bees as it zooms above the solid ...

Singapore 2G switchoff highlights digital divide

January 22, 2017

When Singapore pulls the plug on its 2G mobile phone network this year, thousands of people could be stuck without a signal—digital have-nots left behind by the relentless march of technology.

Making AI systems that see the world as humans do

January 19, 2017

A Northwestern University team developed a new computational model that performs at human levels on a standard intelligence test. This work is an important step toward making artificial intelligence systems that see and understand ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.