Smartphone sales growth to slow down to 8.3% by 2017: IDC

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Receding sales in mature markets like the US and Europe are expected to slow down smartphone sales growth globally to 8.3 per cent by 2017 from close to 40 per cent in 2013, research firm IDC today said.

The fall is unlikely to be offset by burgeoning demand for smart devices in emerging countries like India and China, IDC said.

According to IDC, global smartphone shipment is expected to slow down to 8.3 per cent annual growth in 2017 and 6.2 per cent in 2018.

Annual smartphone volume in 2013 surpassed one billion units for the first time, accounting for 39.2 per cent growth over 2012.

In the coming year, mature markets like North America and Europe are expected to drop to single digits, and Japan might contract slightly, IDC said.

"Despite the high growth expected in many emerging markets, 2014 will mark the year smartphone growth drops more significantly than ever before. 2014 volumes are expected to be 1.2 billion, up from one billion in 2013, representing 19.3 per cent year-over-year growth," it added.

Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker said 2014 will be an "enormous transition year" for the smartphone market.

"Not only will growth decline more than ever before, but the driving forces behind smartphone adoption are changing. New markets for growth bring different rules to play by and 'premium' will not be a major factor in the regions driving overall market growth," he said.

As mature markets become saturated and worldwide growth slows, service providers and device manufacturers are seeking opportunities to move hardware wherever they can, Reith added.

"The result is rapidly declining price points, creating challenging environments in which to turn a profit. Worldwide smartphone average selling price (ASP) was USD 335 in 2013, and is expected to drop to USD 260 by 2018," he said.

IDC believes carriers and OEMs will need to work together to bring prices down in order to reach the untapped demand within emerging markets.

"Last year, we saw a total of 322.5 million smartphone units ship for under USD 150 and that number will continue to grow going forward. We've already seen numerous smartphone announcements targeting this priceband this year, with some as low as USD 25," IDC Research Manager (Mobile Phone) Ramon Llamas said.

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