Mobile phones to grow 7.3% in 2013 against 1.2% in 2012: IDC

IDC has raised phone growth forecast to 7.3 percent for 2013 from 5.8 percent earlier. In 2012, the mobile phone market rose 1.2 percent.

The growth driver will be the strong demand for smartphones across all geographies. There is a strong demand for sub-$200 smartphones in emerging markets.

Smartphone shipments will increase 40 percent to surpass 1 billion units for the first time in a single year, IDC said on Wednesday. Smartphone shipments will reach 1.7 billion units in 2017.

Total phone shipments will be more than 1.8 billion this year, growing to over 2.3 billion in 2017.

Steep device subsidies from telecom operators — especially in mature mobile markets, are driving the market.

IDC says smartphone shipment volume will be dominated by emerging markets, such as China, even though the percentage of smartphones to feature phones won’t be as high.

Android and iOS will remain the number one and two OS platforms, respectively, throughout its forecast.

OS forecast by IDC

Suggestion for Microsoft

Windows Phone will solidify its position as the number three O.S. with incremental share gains over the course of the forecast.

With the acquisition of Nokia’s device and services unit, Microsoft will increasingly need to drive share gains by itself as OEM support for Windows Phone is expected to wane now that the company is set to become a full-fledged hardware maker. Microsoft will also need to ship more low-cost smartphones to high-growth emerging markets if it is to continue building on its recent nominal share increases.

Meanwhile, Ovum earlier in the day said beyond Apple and Google, Microsoft is the best equipped of today’s consumer tech giants to be able to put all the requisite pieces in place to succeed long term. Execution is another matter though and Ovum needs to see sustained progress in Windows Phone shipments over the next three or four years – 15 percent market share is a good target to aim for – to be convinced that Microsoft can establish itself as a real consumer tech market maker rather than a follower.

BlackBerry to struggle

IDC says BlackBerry OS share will decline markedly over the forecast due to tepid BlackBerry 10 reception and emboldened competition that are expected to whittle away share in its remaining regional bastions of strength, such as Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. BlackBerry volume will remain flat as the market expands around it thanks to enterprises with security or other specialized needs that continue to purchase devices from the company.

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