The smartphone era may be coming to an end. At least the blistering sales pace of recent years is coming to an end.
That's due in part to so many people already owning smartphones. In regions like China and North America, where sales have been soaring, smartphones are now commonplace. So, sales trends reflect people replacing and upgrading phones, rather than buying them for the first time.
In fact, 2015 will likely be the first year when smartphone sales don't increase by double-digit percentages over the prior year. Worldwide sales are expected to end the year up 9.8% over 2014, to 1.43 billion, according to International Data Corporation (see charts next page).
Smartphone sales are dipping in Asia, Latin America and Western Europe. Africa has the fastest growth rate of 50% year over year.
In 2015, China accounted for 29.6% of the world's smartphones, but that will dip to 23.08% by 2019. North America's market share in the same time will slip from 12.2% to just under 10%.
Worldwide, year-over-year sales increases will continue to slow down. In fact, sales growth will be just 4.7% year over year in 2019.
If you thought Microsoft would finally crack the smartphone market after its successful rollout of its widely praised operating system, Windows 10, you'd be wrong. Windows accounts for a tiny fraction of the smartphone marketplace, and that's not changing.
In 2015, Windows Phone accounted for 2.2% of worldwide smartphones this year, according to IDC. In 2019, it'll be account for 2.3% of sales.
The dominant smartphone operating system by far is Google's Android. In 2016, it was the OS used in 1.161 billion smartphones, up 9.5% over last year. The Android OS is now in 81.2% of smartphones. That'll increase to 82.6% market share by 2019.
Apple iOS accounts for 15.8% of smartphones in 2015, and that'll dip to 14.1% in 2019. Other OSs are barely making a dent at 0.8%, and a forecast 0.9% in 2019.