IDC says the smartphone market is generally healthy, despite a recent contraction in sales and believes that the industry will grow double-digit by 2022.
According to analyst firm prediction, global shipments will drop by 0.7 percent in 2018 to 1.5 billion, but a strong second half of the year is reason for optimism. By 2022, IDC believes that shipments have reached 1.7 billion.
Android will maintain its dominance with an 85 percent share over the period, but the average sales price of each device will rise. Android sales are expected to reach 1.4 billion in 2022, while iPhone sales are up 2.1 percent to 239 million.
What is less clear is how the industry convinces consumers to upgrade. A relative lack of hardware innovation and saturation in developed markets has led many to hold their devices for a longer period of time.
Larger screens are seen as a way to do this. The prediction suggests that two-thirds of all smartphones sold in 2018 will have screens of 5.5 inches or larger, a figure that will rise to 84.5 percent thanks to their inclusion in cheaper devices and new iPhone models.
"With two of the three new iPhones expected to exceed 6 inches, Apple will not be left behind in the 2018 race for more screen space," said Melissa Chau, associate research director at IDC.
"You could say that the term" phablet "becomes less relevant now that most smartphones come with larger screens and when folding screens come into play in the medium term, this screen trend evolves in new directions."
But other drivers are less obvious. The arrival of 5G smartphones from 2019 will stimulate sales while others are looking for AI functions as a way to differentiate their products.
"We still believe that the smartphone market will see healthy growth in the coming years, although finding and competing in those markets and segments is becoming increasingly challenging," adds Ryan Reith of IDC.
"Many OEMs, retailers, telcos and suppliers in the supply chain will work diligently to ensure that consumers see the need to upgrade when products and services are immediately available."