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IDC: Smartphone market growth blighted by mature markets, growth dropping to 6.2% by 2018

Global smartphone growth is set to drop below 20 per cent this year and continue its decline until 2018 with low demand in North America and Europe fuelling the decrease.

Related: A closer look at the smartphone market in 2013: Android and iOS dominate but Windows Phone surging

Figures from IDC show that smartphone shipments will grow 19.3 per cent in 2014 with the rate down to 6.2 per cent by 2018 – both significant drops from the 39.2 per cent decrease that was seen in 2013.

"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,” stated Ryan Reuth, program director for IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

As alluded to there, the emerging markets will fuel the continued growth of the smartphone market on a global basis and the demand will be for cheaper devices that will in turn push down the average price. IDC thinks that the average price will drop from $335 [£201] in 2013 to $260 [£156] by 2018 and that this will continue to be the main way that manufacturers look for success in emerging markets.

"Last year we saw a total of 322.5 million smartphone units ship for under $150 [£90] 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 $25 [£15]. Just as the dynamics have changed for overall smartphone growth, so have the dynamics for smartphone pricing in the markets where continued growth is expected. Not all vendors will want to get into this space, but those that do must make deliberate choices about their strategies in order to succeed,” stated Ramon Llamas, research manager on IDC’s mobile team.

In terms of the operating systems running on devices, IDC firmly backs the fortunes of both Android and iOS to stay at the head of the market. Both market shares will stay almost the same between 2014 and 2018 with Google decreasing from 78.9 per cent to 76 per cent and Apple from 14.9 per cent to 14.4 per cent.

Gaining most from these small declines will be Windows Phone, which is expected to see an increase of shipments from 47 million in 2014 to 121.8 million in 2018 and this in turn will see the market share almost double from 3.9 per cent in 2014 to seven per cent in 2018.