Global smartphone shipments loses steam in 2016, but 4G phone shipments robust

FRAMINGHAM, United States, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- The growth in worldwide smartphone shipments is expected to grow at a nearly flat rate in 2016, while shipments of 4G smartphones remain robust, according to research firm International Data Corp. (IDC).

Global smartphone shipments are expected to reach 1.45 billion units, with a year-on-year growth rate of 0.6 percent in 2016, down sharply from a 10.4-percent increase in 2015, the latest forecast from the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker released Tuesday showed.

The sluggish growth forecast is partly due to an estimated 11-percent decrease in shipments of Apple's iPhone, IDC data showed.

All signs point to 2016 being the first full year of declining shipments for Apple's iPhone, which held 14.3 percent of the global smartphone market share this year, said the IDC.

However, global 4G smartphone shipments are still expected to show double-digit growth at 21.3 percent year on year, reaching 1.17 billion units, up from 967 million in 2015, said the IDC.

Much of this growth is coming from emerging markets like Asia-Pacific excluding Japan, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East and Africa, where only 61 percent of 2015 smartphone shipments were 4G-enabled, compared to IDC's 2016 projection of 77 percent.

Due to expensive 4G data tariffs and handsets, it has been a "long slog" for 4G uptake in many emerging markets, said Melissa Chau, associate research director with the IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.

However, the situation has changed quickly in key growth markets like India where a new operator is aggressively trying to shake up the market by handing out free 4G sim cards and launching own-branded low-cost 4G-enabled smartphones, Chau added.

Meanwhile, mature markets like the United Sates, Canada, Japan and Western Europe are further along the 4G adoption curve with 85 percent in 2015 and a projected 94 percent in 2016, said the IDC.

"As we approach the holiday quarter, smartphone marketing has picked up significantly across almost all regions as expected," said Ryan Reith, program vice president with the IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.

[ Editor: meng ]
 

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