Windows Phone to top iOS by 2016?

For the latest version of its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report, market research firm IDC has gazed into its crystal ball and made some interesting predictions about the worldwide mobile phone market. Overall, it expects mobile phones shipments to top 1.8 billion units this year, up slightly from the 1.7 billion shipped in 2011. By 2016, that figure will rise to 2.3 billion.

2012’s slow growth is attributed to a projected 10.0% decline in feature phone shipments which will be offset by growth of 38.8% in the smartphone market.

“The smartphone parade won’t be as lively this year as it has been in past,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “The mobile phone user transition from feature phones to smartphones will continue in a gradual but unabated fashion. Smartphone growth, however, will increasingly be driven by a triumvirate of smartphone operating systems, namely Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7.”

Looking into 2016, IDC expects that Android will continue to dominate. It will retain a greater than 50% market share but 2012 will peak this year at 61% before giving up some market share. A similar trend is expected for Apple’s iOS. Both will lose market share to Windows Phone. IDC expects that Windows Phone, despite its slow start, will show robust growth and will become the second most popular OS by 2016.

Worldwide Smartphone Operating System 2012 and 2016 Market Share and 2012-2016 Compound Annual Growth Rate

Smartphone OS 2012 Market Share 2016 Market Share 2012 – 2016 CAGR
Android 61.0% 52.9% 9.5%
Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile 5.2% 19.2% 46.2%
iOS 20.5% 19.0% 10.9%
BlackBerry OS 6.0% 5.9% 12.1%
Others 7.2% 3.0% -5.4%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 12.7%

Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, June 6, 2012

IDC also expects that there will “continue to be a market” for BlackBerry and that it will not disappear any time soon.

Sources : IDC // BGR