The first-ever contraction in the global smartphone market was confirmed by IDC, with the market researcher estimating a 0.5 percent fall to 1.46 billion phones shipped in 2017. A small return to growth is predicted for 2018, driven by improved growth at Apple, according Telecompaper.The decline in 2017 was led by a 5 percent fall in China, while EMEA shipments were also down 3.5 percent, and the US market was flat. 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 of 2.8 percent in the period 2017-2022 to reach 1.68 billion units in 2022.
IDC said the underlying market dynamics remain the same, with growth largely coming from first-time buyers in emerging markets. Premium phones are expected to continue at around 20 percent of the market, while phablets will outstrip regular smartphones for the first time in 2018. IDC expects commercial 5G smartphones to hit the market in 2019, ramping up to account for roughly 18 percent of worldwide shipments by 2022.
While both Android and iOS had largely flat shipments in 2017, the two ecosystems both succeeded in raising average selling prices. IDC expects Apple's volume growth to accelerate from 0.2 percent in 2017 to 3.4 percent in 2018 and reach a CAGR of 2.4 percent over the five-year forecast period. The iOS market share is expected to drop only slightly in the period, from an estimated 14.8 percent in 2017 to 14.4 percent in 2022.