China is said to be a main focal point for global smartphone market; however, its shipments are likely to grow just 1.2% year over year in 2015, down from 19.7% in 2014. It's share of the market is expected to drop to 23.1% in 2019 as other large markets such as India expand.
"China clearly remains a very important market. However, the focus will be more on exports than consumption as domestic growth slows significantly," said Ryan Reith, Program Director with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "India has captured a lot of the attention that China previously received and it's now the market with the most potential upside. The interesting thing to watch will be the possibility of manufacturing moving from China and Vietnam over to India. We've begun to see this move as a means to cut costs and capitalize on financial benefits associated with localized India manufacturing. It is the local vendors like Micromax, Lava, and Intex that will feel the most pressure from international competition within its market."
IDC sees Apple's share of the smartphone market remaining relatively steady, noting that the biggest growth opportunity is in price sensitive markets.
Despite Apple's continued success with its variants of the iPhone, the story among operating systems is not expected to change throughout the forecast, with Android's 81% share in 2015 carrying forward until 2019. Markets with the biggest growth opportunity are extremely price sensitive, which IDC believes will not change, and this is the main reason Apple will be challenged to take Android share throughout the forecast. Even if Apple were to introduce another low-cost iPhone (e.g., ‘C’ version), IDC believes the price will struggle to compete with Android OEMs that are focused on portfolios aimed at price points of $200 and less. This isn't to suggest that Apple's success with the iPhone won't continue, and IDC believes its efforts to maintain significantly higher margins compared to its competitors are much more valuable than chasing share. Android shipments globally are expected to grow from 1.06 billion in 2014 to 1.54 billion in 2019, while iOS shipments will grow from 192.7 million in 2014 to 269.6 million in 2019. IDC's view that Microsoft/Windows Phone will remain a marginal challenger at best has not changed.
Large screen smartphones will likely remain popular with phablets forecasted to make up 71% of smartphone shipments by 2019.
Take a look at the chart below for more details...