Smartphones worldwide shipment volumes down 0.5% in 2017
This is the first year-over-year decline the market has experienced since the introduction of what we now know as smartphones.
Smartphone companies shipped a total of 1.46 billion devices in 2017 with nearly all of that volume running either the Android or iOS platforms.
Looking forward, IDC expects shipment volumes to return to low single-digit growth in 2018 and the overall market to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.8% over the 2017-2022 forecast period with volumes forecast to reach 1.68 billion units in 2022.
Design innovation continues to be a focal point of the industry, yet technology advances are becoming less about tangible hardware aesthetics and more about components and software.
This shift makes differentiation a challenge, especially as the entire industry is sprinting towards bigger screens and smaller bezels.
IDC expects 2018 to be the year when phablets outship regular smartphones, essentially ending the race for bigger screens. Big differences in quality and display type still exist, but the average consumer will continue to struggle to understand these differences.
So, what’s next? 5G momentum is in full swing and device OEMs, component suppliers, telcos, and services companies are all looking to capitalize. IDC expects commercial 5G smartphones to hit the market in 2019, ramping up to account for roughly 18% of worldwide shipments by 2022. ■