IDC: Chinese, global smartphone growth to slow rapidly in 2014/2015

After growing ~60% in 2013 (and fueling global shipment growth of 39%), IDC expects Chinese smartphone shipment growth to slow to ~20% in 2014 and just ~10% in 2015.

Though only 40% of China's 1B+ mobile users now use a smartphone, IDC's Kiranjeet Kaur notes most users who can comfortably afford a smartphone have already bought one. Plunging low-end Android prices could expand the addressable market in a country whose nominal per capita GDP is around $6K.

India, which has a sub-10% smartphone penetration rate, still presents a major growth opportunity. But with a nominal per capita GDP of ~$1,500, the country is even more cost-sensitive than China.

With China slowing down and developed markets living up to their name, IDC expects global smartphone growth to slow to 19% in 2014; that still spells total volumes of 1.2B. Tough competition and the ongoing mix shift towards emerging markets is expected to lead the industry's ASP to fall $27 to $308.

Smartphone OEMs with strong Chinese exposure: AAPL, SSNLF, LNVGY, ZTCOY

Chip suppliers: QCOM, BRCM, CRUS, SWKS, RFMD, MRVL

Chinese carriers: CHL, CHU, CHA

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Comments (26)
  • sbkamm
    , contributor
    Comments (53) | Send Message
    Where exactly do these numbers come from? In a country with 1+ billion people, that means they have 1+billion mobile users? Do they issue everyone a phone when they are born? Also, why is it that IDC is always the source for these reports? They have continually proven to be very unreliable.
    5 Mar 2014, 06:25 PM Reply Like
  • Skippy09
    , contributor
    Comments (1972) | Send Message
    "Where exactly do these numbers come from?"


    They come from IDC which speaks for itself.
    5 Mar 2014, 08:45 PM Reply Like
  • Ospreyeye
    , contributor
    Comments (39) | Send Message
    Cheap phones in developing markets is where the money us at in the mobile sector. 4YFN was a big YAWN. Nothing cool coming out. It's all about cheap phones for the masses.
    5 Mar 2014, 10:13 PM Reply Like
  • rocback
    , contributor
    Comments (1100) | Send Message
    and just how does anyone know what smartphone growth will be in 2015. That info is as speculative as they come.
    5 Mar 2014, 10:48 PM Reply Like
  • Randal James
    , contributor
    Comments (4422) | Send Message


    Most western countries have more than one mobile phone per person.



    The phones generally in use in China now are very basic feature phones without net connectivity. It was not an issue because the telcos lacked enough hardware to support it. That will change.


    But the author's point of low income is a huge barrier to sales of the envy devices the major manufacturers love to show off at trade shows. The wealthiest will still flash the newest Galaxies and iPhones, but the fat part of the bell curve (and with a billion people, very fat) is $200 and under.
    6 Mar 2014, 02:12 AM Reply Like
  • diaboliqueguan
    , contributor
    Comments (868) | Send Message
    sbkamm, agreed totally with your comment. IDC's report sounds more like a hoax. Asians love to show off, and they will buy the most desirable smartphone brand out there if they can afford, and I doubt it can be those low ends NOR samesung. def not BBRY, whose time is so over.
    6 Mar 2014, 04:25 AM Reply Like
  • serkanteker
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
    China wireless market is about 1.1 Bn subscribers which means the total mobile line penetration is 78.5% with a total population of 1.4 Bn people. This penetration number is reasonable when compared to most of the emerging markets. Some markets (especially Middle East) have even more than 150% penetration rate. As it can be seen, they do not make anyone subscribers as they are born :) But obviously the confusing part of this statement is 1+Bn people as both 1.1 and 1.9 are 1+ Bn :)


    As the last thing; this numbers are from China Mobile's 2012 annual report, not from IDC. Probably it exceeded that figures as of time being.
    6 Mar 2014, 08:35 AM Reply Like
  • DanoX
    , contributor
    Comments (3599) | Send Message
    They are downplaying Apple in China. Now that China Mobile is signed up with Apple.
    6 Mar 2014, 01:34 PM Reply Like
  • hawk007
    , contributor
    Comments (161) | Send Message
    Not just because I like apple but you are correct.....billion is a large number so they won't slow down..... hang in there!!!
    6 Mar 2014, 09:23 PM Reply Like
    , contributor
    Comments (1176) | Send Message
    RE rockback comment 930


    Just the Wall Street manipulators up to their crooked ways YET AGAIN .
    As LambrettaMike so rightly points out: For IDC, read Hedge Funds, attempting to drive AAPL stock price.
    7 Mar 2014, 04:25 PM Reply Like
  • lorvic1
    , contributor
    Comments (94) | Send Message
    Numbers sound very fishy.
    5 Mar 2014, 06:28 PM Reply Like
  • Ospreyeye
    , contributor
    Comments (39) | Send Message
    Bottom line: the world needs cheap smart phone technology. The only advances in the high end cell phone market is new colors. Read the WSJ coverage of the event. It's all about cheap phones.
    5 Mar 2014, 10:15 PM Reply Like
  • Vitalogy80
    , contributor
    Comments (32) | Send Message
    With China slowing down and developed markets living up to their name, IDC expects global smartphone growth to slow to 19% in 2014; that still spells total volumes of 1.2B.


    That doesn't mean China accounts for 1.2B...that's Global
    5 Mar 2014, 06:35 PM Reply Like
  • David RG
    , contributor
    Comments (2963) | Send Message
    1 billion mobile subs includes feature phone in addition to smartphones. The global mobile phone market is 1.8 billion phones sold annually. Last year, over 1 billion smartphones were shipped (total subs is higher obviously)


    There are less than 400 million smartphone users in China with a population around 1.4 billion.


    IDC it should be pointed out, chronically underestimates smartphone growth. With a market growing this rapidly, that may be understandable but they keep making the same mistake year after year.
    5 Mar 2014, 07:34 PM Reply Like
  • consultnick
    , contributor
    Comments (404) | Send Message
    It all points to the inevitable crush at the bottom of the heap of phone-opportunists, trying to tear off their piece of the bacon--exactly where Apple does not play, and for the same reasons that they have repeatedly asserted all along........
    5 Mar 2014, 08:10 PM Reply Like
  • Ospreyeye
    , contributor
    Comments (39) | Send Message
    That's why the place to be is in low end smart phone manufacturers. High end growth is slowing rapidly. Explosive growth in the cheap phone sector. Watch, there will be HUGE winners in the low-cost technology smart phone sector.
    5 Mar 2014, 10:18 PM Reply Like
  • diaboliqueguan
    , contributor
    Comments (868) | Send Message
    That's your opinion. And I think you wont want to be caught using a low-costs smartphone, but probably a high end AAPL product.
    6 Mar 2014, 04:26 AM Reply Like
  • cshoxie
    , contributor
    Comments (364) | Send Message
    When Kiranjeet Kaur speaks, people listen.
    5 Mar 2014, 08:52 PM Reply Like
  • donjean2
    , contributor
    Comments (29) | Send Message
    The real potential is Docomo which is the provider in Japan. They have the income and desire to go with advanced smart phones. Note that Docomo just got things going with the latest Apple with about the same timing as experienced by China Mobile. I think the future looks bright because we need to count all those upper middle class folks who do not buy cars and homes so have disposable income.
    5 Mar 2014, 09:20 PM Reply Like
  • Ospreyeye
    , contributor
    Comments (39) | Send Message
    Cheap phones. It's all about the $25 phone.
    5 Mar 2014, 10:19 PM Reply Like
  • Ospreyeye
    , contributor
    Comments (39) | Send Message
    HPNN & MSFT teaming up w/ $25 phone. 4YFN conference in Barcelona, Spain just took place. Low-cost smart phone technology was the big winner & is predicted to be the biggest growth driver for the mobile sector in the future. HPNN CEO CC tomorrow. OEM deals will be discussed.
    5 Mar 2014, 10:09 PM Reply Like
  • ultraz2
    , contributor
    Comments (1107) | Send Message
    Apples going to do just fine in China. And when when Apple comes out with the 3 D projection platform they will be starting over from a new day one with a new technology.
    5 Mar 2014, 11:09 PM Reply Like
  • LambrettaMike
    , contributor
    Comments (876) | Send Message
    For IDC, read Hedge Funds, attempting to drive AAPL stock price lower before a bounce on new product announcement
    6 Mar 2014, 05:30 AM Reply Like
  • jackbrinker
    , contributor
    Comments (12) | Send Message
    Moving to a time of regular replacements and often upgrades....Apples market.
    6 Mar 2014, 08:34 AM Reply Like
  • bd4uandu
    , contributor
    Comments (2074) | Send Message
    Sounds like Chinese buy what they need rather then what the press hypes them to buy.
    6 Mar 2014, 08:57 AM Reply Like
  • BlueOkie
    , contributor
    Comments (10729) | Send Message


    Need to review QualCom's annual stockholder meeting. They see lots of opportunity. I'm long QCOM, MSFT, VZ, TXN
    6 Mar 2014, 11:11 AM Reply Like
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