The worldwide market for converged mobile devices (also commonly referred to as smartphones) is expected to grow 55.4% this year compared to 2009 amid greater-than-expected demand for the do-it-all devices. This is 10% higher than the previous forecast from the International Data Corporation (http://www.idc.com) “Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.”
IDC now expects mobile phone vendors to ship 269.6 million converged mobile devices this year compared to the 173.5 million units shipped in 2009. The increased market forecast for smartphones comes amid the launch of several new models, such as the BlackBerry Torch, EVO 4G, and the iPhone 4, in recent months.
“The smartphone is the catalyst behind the rebound in the worldwide mobile phone market this year,” says Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “Additional product introductions and an expected flurry of smartphone buying activity in the second half of the year will push the market well above previous expectations.”
For the first half of 2010, vendors shipped a total of 119.4 million units or 55.5% more than the 76.8 million units shipped during the first half of 2009.
IDC now expects the 2010 overall mobile phone market to grow 14.1%, or 1.5% higher than its previous forecast. Last year, the market declined 2.8%, the first such occurrence in Mobile Phone Tracker history.
The outlook for 2011 is also very strong. Despite uncertainty about the economy, the smartphone market is expected to increase 24.5% in 2011. However, smartphone growth will decline progressively over the course of IDC’s five-year forecast period. In 2014, for example, the market is expected to rise by just 13.6%.
Nonetheless, there is ample room for multiple players to grow, says IDC. No one smartphone OS will dominate mobile phones in the way that Microsoft has with Windows on the personal computer, per the research group.
“IDC believes the market will comfortably support up to five OS players over the next five years,” Restivo says. “Shorter replacement cycles and an ample feature phone to smartphone upgrade opportunity means the smartphone OS market will remain fragmented but healthy for the foreseeable future.”
Symbian will maintain its number one standing throughout the forecast period with 32.9% share in 2014. However, it will lose share, primarily to Android, which is expected to grow its share fastest over the forecast period, rising from 16.3% to 24.6%. Meanwhile, Windows Mobile is expected to regain some of the share it has lost over the past two years and BlackBerry’s share will remain relatively constant while that of iOS will decline gradually.