According to a new report from IDC, worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to reach 1.46 billion units with a year-over-year growth rate of 1.6% in 2016.
That’s the projection shared Friday by the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
Although growth remains positive, it is down significantly from the 10.4% growth in 2015, the report explains.
Much of the slowdown is attributed to the decline expected in developed regions in 2016, while emerging markets continue with positive growth. Developed markets as a whole (United States, Canada, Japan, and Western Europe) are expected to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -0.2%, while emerging markets (Asia/Pacific excluding Japan, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Latin America) will experience a CAGR of 5.4% over the 2015-2020 forecast period.
“Growth in the smartphone market is quickly becoming reliant on replacing existing handsets rather than seeking new users,” said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers. “From a technological standpoint, smartphone innovation seems to be in a lull as consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with ‘good enough’ smartphones. However, with the launch of trade-in or buy-back programs from top vendors and telcos, the industry is aiming to spur early replacements and shorten lifecycles. Upcoming innovations in augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) should also help stimulate upgrades in the next 12 to 18 months.”