- The global smartphone market is still growing at a steady pace thanks to more widespread adoption in emerging markets. We estimate the global market will grow at a 16% compound rate from 2015 to 2020 to hit about 3.4 billion units shipped in 2020.
- The next billion smartphone shipments will come much faster than the first billion. Last year, the smartphone market surpassed 1 billion units shipped annually for the first time. We estimate that the market will surpass the 2 billion milestone next year.
- Low-cost smartphones are proliferating across emerging markets, driving the feature phone closer to obsolescence. Feature phones now account for just 25% of total mobile phone shipments worldwide. We estimate feature phone sales will decline 12% per year on average through 2020.
Shipments growth continues to be driven by emerging markets, but already China is maturing, and India is becoming the new growth engine. We forecast shipments in the Indian market will grow roughly 31% per year on average through 2020, compared to 8% average annual growth in China.
- The global platform wars are still playing out, with Apple able to push back against Android dominance on the backs of new device launches. After the release of the iPhone 6 line, Apple was able to grow market share in the fourth quarter 8 percentage points from a year earlier, and knock Android's share down to 77%, from a second-quarter all-time high of 85%.
- On the vendor side, Apple's strong quarter came at the expense of Samsung. Apple iPhone shipments grew 46% YoY in the fourth quarter — the highest growth rate in two years — while Samsung shipments fell 7% YoY during the period.
- Simultaneously, Chinese vendors like Xiaomi continued to grow their share of global shipments. Combined, the top five Chinese smartphone vendors made up 24% of total global smartphone market shipments in the fourth quarter of 2014, up from just 18% two years prior.
This report takes a global look at the smartphone market. To understand how shipments, vendor, and platform wars are playing out at the country-level, read our companion report — THE SMARTPHONE REPORT BY COUNTRY: [...]