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IDC trims smartphone growth outlook on China slowdown

The research firm expects smartphone shipments to grow by 11.3 percent this year, compared to growth of 27.6 percent the market experienced during 2014.
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Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Senior Writer on

Smartphone shipments will continue to decline this year, according to the latest data from IDC.

The research firm expects smartphone shipments to grow by 11.3 percent this in 2015, compared to growth of 27.6 percent the market experienced during the year prior.

The slowdown is in part due to the Chinese smartphone market reaching saturation. In a report released earlier this month, IDC said China's smartphone market shrank for the first time in six years, dropping to a slower growth level than the worldwide market.

IDC does see some areas where "robust growth" is expected, mainly in India, Indonesia, the Middle East and South Africa. These markets will help propel smartphone shipment volumes to 1.9 billion by 2019, IDC says.

The China slowdown will also have an impact on Android adoption, according to IDC. The country is a critical market for the Google-made operating system, accounting for 36 percent of its total volume in 2014. IDC now expects 8.5 percent growth in Android-based smartphones, which is also slower than the worldwide market.

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But it isn't all bad news, at least for Apple, which is expected to growh 23 percent in 2015. IDC notes that Apple's recent shift in product towards bigger screen displays with a broader country reach has had an immediate impact on volumes. What's more, a large swath of Apple's installed base is still using older iPhone models, which leaves room for continued growth throughout the year.

"In addition, IDC believes a sizable portion of the Android installed base were those who migrated over to the platform from iOS with the desire for a larger screen smartphone," added Reith. "This is an opportunity Apple is no question focusing on. However, the price difference between Android/iOS devices in many markets will remain a significant hurdle for Apple."

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