Global smartphone shipments are losing steam, but lower-priced devices and the African market are likely to be engines of growth, says an international research organisation.
International Data Corp (IDC) last week forecast that global smartphone growth will reach 9,8% in 2015 — the segment’s first ever single-digit growth.
IDC attributed the slowdown to dampening demand in China, but the research organisation has argued that lower-priced smartphones are expected to drive growth in Africa and other parts of the world.
“The smartphone growth will come from the low-priced smartphones (under US$150),” said IDC South Africa research analyst Joseph Hlongwane.
IDC said further that data showed that shipments to the Middle East and Africa are set to grow at 50%, surpassing those to India and Indonesia.
“With the other regions slowing, Africa has become crucial to manufacturers. Africa’s smartphone market is expected to grow — especially the low-priced smartphone segment. However, the key for success in Africa will be to launch the right product at the right price point,” Hlongwane said.
IDC said that Android will marginally increase its global market share from 81% to 82%, while Apple’s iOS operating system for iPhones should remain flat at about 14%.
The organisation forecast that Microsoft would see a 10,2% decline in its global market share despite investments in its Windows operating system.
Meanwhile, Chinese manufactures such as ZTE and Xiaomi have already actively targeted the lower-price segment in South Africa. Xiaomi, which promotes its own Android flavour MIUI, has launched its Mi 4 smartphone in South Africa on contracts starting at R229/month.
“I think that the diversity in Android is the driver of its success. The operating system offers the consumer a variety of handsets brands and models to choose from, and a broad range of prices. Due to these reasons, I see Android dominating the smartphone market for many years to come,” Hlongwane said. — Fin24