China's smartphone market barely growing: IDC

The smartphone market in once red-hot China has lulled, with shipments out of the country expected to grow just 1.2 percent year over year in 2015, down from 19.7 percent in 2014, according to IDC.

IDC has predicted that worldwide smartphone growth is expected to slow this year to 10.4 percent, with the once booming smartphone market in China taking the biggest hit; expected to grow by only 1.2 percent, down from growth of 19.7 percent last year.

The IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker found that China was behind 32.2 percent of all new smartphone shipments in 2014, however, China's share of the overall market is expected to drop to 23.1 percent in 2019. The IDC said that whilst the country is expected to remain as the largest market for smartphone volumes throughout its four-year forecast period, markets such as India are predicted to continue to grow at a faster rate.

"China clearly remains a very important market," said Ryan Reith, program director for IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. "However, the focus will be more on exports than consumption as domestic growth slows significantly."

The report highlighted India had captured a lot of the attention that China previously received, labelled by the IDC as the market with the most potential advantage.

"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 capitalise on financial benefits associated with localised India manufacturing," Reith said.

Globally, IDC said smartphone shipments are expected to grow by 10.4 percent in 2015 to 1.44 billion units, lower than the analysts' original forecast of 11.3 percent.

According to the IDC report, Android holds an 81.1 percent share of the market in 2015 -- a figure predicted to remain steady through to 2019 -- with Apple coming in second, holding 15.6 percent of the market 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," the report said.

IDC said that Windows Phone will remain a marginal challenger at best, with its market share expected to be 3.6 percent in 2019.

Source : IDC WW Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, August 2015

Last week, IT research firm Gartner said the fall in smartphone purchasing in China had had a noticeable knock on effect -- slowing the worldwide growth rate for smartphone sales -- and reported that sales growth fell to its lowest level for two years.

"China has reached saturation -- its phone market is essentially driven by replacement, with fewer first-time buyers," Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner said.

Gartner found that Samsung held 21 percent of the smartphone market share, Apple held 14.6 percent thanks to its 2014 large-screen offering, and Huawei came in at third with 7.8 percent of the worldwide smartphone market.

Despite the overall shipment decline in China, the demand for expensive handsets in the country is expanding, according to GfK.

The Germany-based researchers highlighted the strong demand for high-end smartphones -- those in excess of $500 -- had pushed smartphone value up 17 percent year-on-year to $26.8 billion in the quarter. According to GfK, the high-end smartphone market now accounts for 17 percent of the market, up from 10 percent in Q2 2014, which is growing at the expense of the low-end.

Meanwhile, Strategy Analytics analysts estimate that 28.1 million smartwatches will be shipped in 2015, 15 million of which will come from Apple alone. Apple has dominated so far this year by devouring Samsung's market share; with four out of every five smartwatches being Apple's wrist wearables.