Canalys predicts a billion Android smartphone sales in 2017, and rapid growth for Windows Phone

Canalys predicts a billion Android smartphone sales in 2017, and rapid growth for Windows Phone

Summary: Today, Canalys predicted that a billion Android smartphones will ship in 2017, and that Microsoft's market share will grow five-fold as it closes in on Apple's iOS.

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TOPICS: Smartphones
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Canalys, the UK-based analysis company, has predicted that Android shipments will reach a billion smartphones a year in 2017. Given Android's rapid growth over the past couple of years, this should be a safe bet.

Canalys smartphones table
Source: Canalys

More controversially, Canalys is predicting that Microsoft Windows Phone will grow dramatically at Apple's expense. While Canalys's table, published today (June 4), predicts that Android's market share will drop only slightly from 67.7% in 2012 to 67.1% in 2017, it is predicting a decline for Apple and marked growth for Microsoft.

Apparently, Microsoft's market share will increase five-fold from 2.4% to 12.7% while Apple's will decline from 19.5% to 14.1%.

This would put Microsoft only 1.4 percentage points behind Apple in a market where much larger changes are common.

Canalys analyst Jessica Kwee said in a statement: "The scalability of Microsoft’s platform will be critical to its success and it has made progress here by enabling Huawei and Nokia to deliver Windows Phone products at aggressive price points."

However, success depends on Windows Phone expanding beyond Nokia. Kwee adds that, "longer-term it is the Chinese vendors that are best placed to challenge Samsung’s market dominance. Microsoft already has a relationship with Huawei and ZTE in the phone space, and Lenovo is a major partner in the PC space. These partners will be needed to help deliver the scale that Microsoft needs."

Both Android and Windows Phone 8 benefit from scalability. Windows offers a similar user interface from smartphones through 8-inch and larger tablets to all-in-ones with 55-inch screens.

Kwee expects price to be a key driver in the major growth markets for smartphone sales, including China and India, where buyers often pay the purchase price of a phone. This is helping Android and Microsoft but Canalys expects it to hinder Apple. She says: "Apple’s growth will be curtailed by the fact that momentum in the smart phone market is coming from the low end, and Apple is absent from this segment."

Of course, the fact that Apple is arguably absent from this segment today does not mean it will be absent in 2017, if not sooner. Apple has produced low-end iPods and there's no obvious reason why it shouldn't provide low-end phones.

Apple has been losing market share to Android since Google introduced the platform. Last month, IDC reported that Android shipments increased by 79.5%, year over year, to 162.1 million units in this year's first quarter. Windows Phone grew by 133.3% to 7.0 million units over a much smaller base. However, Apple iOS sales grew by just 6.6% to 37.4 million units, and its market share dropped from 23.0% to 17.3%.

The mobile phone market changes rapidly and has already seen dramatic changes in market share, particularly with the decline of Nokia (which used to dominate smartphone sales with Symbian) and Motorola. It won't be a surprise if the market keeps changing, though I wouldn't bet the house on Canalys's numbers.

Topic: Smartphones

Jack Schofield

About Jack Schofield

Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first website and, in 2001, its first real blog. When the printed section was dropped after 25 years and a couple of reincarnations, he felt it was a time for a change....

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22 comments
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  • Couldn't be more wrong - People won't have cell phones

    In the traditional sense.

    I'll be the first to ditch a cell phone(and getting robbed to text and make calls) for a Skype number and a data only plan.
    everss02
    • also with a skype number

      you could log into any device and take/make calls and text, your xbox one, pc, tablet , car, whatever
      everss02
    • You can already do that over wifi. If you want

      connectivity beyond WiFi then you're going to need cellular service even for just data. The data still has to be able to get to and from your device. Maybe down the road we'll see more white space networking or something else replacing WiFi but not for years. It takes years just to move tech on cellular like the 3G to LTE shift
      Johnny Vegas
      • You can kindof with Verizon

        if you can get ahold of a sim for a tablet.

        The cell service isn't what I want to ditch, its the $40/month just for 450 minutes which I never even use, and I can't get a smaller plan, and the $20/month for the privelage to text on AT&T

        I just want to buy a 3-5 GB data plan and be done.
        everss02
  • Watch Jessica Kwee updating her prognosis if Apple will release ...

    ... "inexpensive" iPhone.
    DDERSSS
    • At some point in time, probably sooner rather than later

      Apple will release an iPhone Mini (as they eventually did with the iPad Mini). Only Tim Cook and his top managers know when that time will be. And while an iPhone Mini will likely involve some cannibalization of iPhone sales, it will also successfully compete with other brands.

      I am, personally, not worried about Apple in the smartphone market, especially with regard to its profitability.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • The Apple shareholders will worry, if Apple does come out with an iPhone

        mini, or a low-end phone to compete against the other low-end OEMs.

        Apple's stock has suffered greatly in the last 7-8 months, and moving to the low-end in iPhones will spell doom to the Apple stock. The low-end devices can be a lucrative market for number of sales, but not for the sales prices or the profits per device. With lower profits comes a lower stock price, and a much lower market cap. Apple could come down to a market cap of around $200 billion or below, when it makes the move to low-end.
        adornoe
    • "inexpensive"????

      {design freak}
      noooooo!!! if it is cheap, it will loose it credibilty! :( even the poor will have one!!! :O :O
      comnut2k
  • my prediction for 2017

    M$ 0.5%
    Other - 2%
    blackbery 2.5%
    apple 5%
    android 90%
    LlNUX Geek
  • Canalys predicts a billion Android smartphone sales in 2017, and rapid grow

    The Microsoft Windows Phone growing I can see happening since it already is. But the part about a billion android phones shipping there is no way. Still has too many issues like the phones rebooting themselves.
    Loverock-Davidson
  • Very unlikely

    If Android shipped 1 billion smartphones a year at 67.1%, this would mean the total smartphone shipments would be around 1.49 billion smartphones will ship in that year. Which means in that year alone 25% of the world's population would buy a smartphone, seems a little bit on the high side.
    sjaak327
  • Microsoft's market share will grow five-fold ! !

    What Canalys people are drinking ? ! !
    Or are they being paid by MS ? ?

    With this safe mode looking WP8 OS
    and Android / iOS passing a Billion apps each,
    the best that MS can do by 2017 is
    pass the 5.0% market share.

    LlNUX Geek's prediction is more realistic
    even if Linux is a failure on desktop..

    M$ 0.5%
    Other - 2%
    blackbery 2.5%
    apple 5%
    android 90%

    Windows 7 Fanatic
    ffinder-cy
  • My prediction...

    Canalys will be proven to be wrong on all counts, and way before 2017.

    Android will get decreased share of about 10% per year, once Windows gains more momentum, and WP8 (or WP9?) will be the beneficiary. Apple's market-share will decrease more slowly, by about 1-2% per year, and possibly a lot more with the introduction of a low-end iPhone mini.

    By the end of 2015, WP8 will possess around 40-50% of the smartphone market, and Android will be around 40%, and Apple will be between 14-16%. Blackberry will be around 2% or out of business.

    The predictions by Canalys do not take into consideration the changes coming to the mobile markets, especially in regards to the processors, especially the Haswell and Atom mobile processors coming this year and the next. Many of the smartphones that will be produced will contain the Intel processors, and many smartphone OEMs might actually switch their entire offerings to contain just the Intel CPUs and not ARM; that might necessitate that, WP8 or WP9 be the OS powering them. When that happens, there will be a major interruption in the direction which smartphones have been taking in the last few years, and even Samsung, which is really the only powerhouse in the Android ecosystem, might opt to just offer WP8/WP9 devices. Samsung will have to choose between offering an Android powered smartphone, or a much more capable Atom/WP8 device. The one with the most power and capabilities will win the most OEMs, and Android/ARM won't be it.
    adornoe
    • That is a huge growth for WP!!!

      When Nokia is about to release a profit warning for current quarter because of lower than expected lumia sales, it seems very unlikely.
      Sever shift in processor trends can happen, but that's irrelevant as probably android competition would be much faster to adapt.
      WP needs new partners if they want to get close to iPhone, but Samsung and Apple are out (or almost), some Chinese manufacturers could help it but I doubt they are strong enough or showing big interest... maybe Lenovo.
      Also there is the risk of Nokia shifting strategy and doom WP on the turn of a dime - 1 billion smartphones a year it's just insane and must gives a lot of food for thought, 2 or 3% of that is what WP is selling now!
      AleMartin
      • I didn't mention Nokia because, it's not just about Nokia, and it's about

        how the WP8 ecosystem will evolve.

        WP8 will include the new Haswell and Atom processors, and will attract other entrants into the WP8 environment, including Samsung and HTC and others. Heck, if Samsung decides that, the Intel processors offer a better smartphone experience, then Samsung might become bigger in the Intel/WP ecosystem than they are in Android. That's why I predict that, WP8 (WP9) could become bigger than Android in the next 2 - 3 years. Nokia's Lumia will grow it's share in the smartphone business, and Nokia will do well because of it, but, WP8 will be bigger than "just" Nokia.
        adornoe
        • let's do some math

          By 2015, let's say smartphones will be selling 1.2 billion a year - conservative. Taking your lower number for WP - 40% - that translates into 480 million WP phones being sold per year.
          I'm not sure about the WP sales in 2012, but let's be very optimist and say 25 million. It means WP most grow near 20 fold in 3 years, more than 1.5 times qoq. Seems very ambitious, and I'm not even considering that 2 quarters of 2013 will be very far from it.
          WP is Nokia so far, they represent about 80% of windows phones. Also I believe there is no Intel WP phones being sold with Intel, while android is becoming common there. Intel is not a windows exclusive, don't understand your reasoning there.

          Someone must act very fast so your numbers become a reality.
          AleMartin
          • Consider that, iPhones took off in a matter of about 3 years, and consider

            that Android didn't really start rolling in the big numbers until about 3 years. Now, consider that WP8 has only been in the market about a year, and not too many people are familiar with it, or have encountered it, and were uncertain about its future. Also consider that, most contracts last 2 to 3 years, and that most of those contracts will be due for renewal in the next 1-3 years. A great deal of those people looking for a new or renewed contract, will find out about WP8, and many of them will make the move to WP8. After a while, more and more people will begin to notice more and more of those WP8 phones in the wild, and so, many of them many decide to make the switch when they are up for renewal or new contract. It doesn't take much in any industry to start an "avalanche" with people switching. And, with Intel entering the scene and with Nokia and others making great WP8 devices, it's only natural that WP8 will grow by leaps and bounds. The ARM-based smartphones may start being looked at as the "technology of the past decade", while the Intel-WP8 devices could start being looked at as the "latest and greatest' in smartphones.

            I don't think that Android devices can survive the onslaught of the Intel-WP8 avalanche. ;)
            adornoe
          • Very vivid imagination

            You for sure forgot a lot of stuff.
            Market maturity, lack of interest on WP, before windows p 8 we had windows 7 - will windows 9 be another reset?!
            Android being based on linux easily runs in all processors.
            Only Nokia shows interest in WP and they are getting in trouble.
            Android is also big with tablets.
            There is competition from the likes of BlackBerry.
            ...
            ...
            AleMartin
          • AleMartin: You forget about the history of tech and of computers,

            which says that, what is popular today may be gone tomorrow and replaced by something better or "cooler".

            iPhones and iPads became a huge disruption in the computing and cell-phone arenas a few years ago. Now, they're not as cool as they were just a couple of years ago, and Android is now selling more, while it's coolness factor is not really there. Android is popular because it's "free" to OEMs to incorporate in their smartphones. But, when it comes to functionality and usefulness, neither iOS nor Android can claim that they can do things better than WP8. WP8 has the muscle behind it to make huge inroads against the "established" players. WP8, is, by a lot of standards, a much better OS and a better supported OS, and people eventually recognize what is most important when it comes to their technology. iOS is showing its age, and its ancient UI is not so cool anymore. Android is not cool, and its market-share was won via much cheaper devices than what Apple was putting out. Quality and support are very important, and when it comes to prices, well, with the newer Intel processors, WP8 will have even more and better capabilities, and the prices will also be coming down.

            People want quality, and support. They want the latest and greatest. They want low or affordable prices. They want a large and supported ecosystem. All of those can be found in WP8, and it's getting bigger and better. The same can't be said for iOS, nor Android.
            adornoe
          • No evidence

            It can happen, but no signs of it.
            With current device availability with WP it will be very hard for them, Nokia has done a great job releasing a complete line of lumia devices, but they are on the down and it's hard to compete with 10 or more android makers.
            Samsung is strong, HTC with the one beats on quality and looks, Sony is selling solid devices at a great price - some water/dust proof, Chinese makers sell specs on the low price, ...
            WP is by many standards behind competition - it's hardly the new shining thing. They keep on catching up, in some aspects they are more than 1 year behind - just think of siri or Google now.... there are many more...
            Tiles are by many standards something users don't like, while people still love the old ui used buy Apple while android can be whatever users want.... It seems first signs of a decent notification center for WP are coming now... only now!
            AleMartin