Any talk of Apple’s glow in the smartphone market waning amid strong competition might have been wildly premature.IDC recently recorded the first ever year in which iPhone shipments declined and lowered its shipment projections for 2017 to 223.6 million units.
But the organisation also predicts that 2018 volumes will be around 240.4 million.
With the release of the Apple iPhone 8 just around the corner, the figures are a further indication that many Apple fans are holding off on upgrading their handsets until the very latest model is out in the shops.
As IDC says: “All signs point to late 2017 and certainly 2018 being very strong for Apple, as much of its installed base seems ready for a refresh and the next round of iPhones is not likely to disappoint its fans.”
The resurgence of Apple could be one factor behind an expected rebound in the wider smartphone market across the world.
Estimates from IDC suggest that worldwide smartphone shipments will grow by three per cent this year.
This is significant given that in 2016, the year-on-year growth rate was just 2.5 per cent – the lowest in the smartphone industry’s entire history.
In 2016, shipment volumes are set to be about 1.52 billion, which IDC has put down to “several major devices” coming on to the market this year.
This momentum is expected to continue in 2018, when smartphone shipments are expected to go up by 4.5 per cent, partly thanks to a “full year of new iPhone shipments from Apple”.
Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers, commented: “2016 was an interesting year for smartphones with some high-growth markets down and other mature markets like the US and China outpacing global growth rates.
“As consumers continue to demand more from their smartphones, we expect to see a large portion of the installed base that is currently using low-end devices begin to seek a more robust experience on more capable devices.”
Mr Reith added that these trends are being driven by the need for constant connectivity, along with growing media consumption, gaming and use of augmented and virtual reality.
IDC went on to state that the launch of the iPhone 8 looks set to be one of the biggest product announcements in history.
The company pointed out that while the low-end smartphone market has thrived in the last few years, the high-end market is still holding its place in the industry and looks set to keep doing so for a while yet.
Indeed, it said that with advancements in computing, display technology, cameras and storage, high-end users will continue needing to refresh their devices from time to time.