In what has to be good news for large smartphone manufacturers like Samsung, smartphone ownership rose to 2 billion last year. Now, industry leaders need to worry about how quickly people replace those devices and how fast the overall market will grow.
According to Strategic Analytics, one in every three people in the world owns a smartphone. The research firm added:
Linda Sui, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global smartphone users grew 37 percent from 1.5 billion in 2013 to reach 2.1 billion users in 2014. This is the first time worldwide smartphone users have surpassed the two-billion level. We forecast global smartphone users to increase a further 22 percent to 2.5 billion in 2015. An impressive 35 percent of the world’s 7.2 billion population will own a smartphone by the end of 2015, up from 29 percent in 2014.”
The growth rate has slowed, but not enough to undermine the manufacturers.
As next year unfolds, perennial leaders Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Samsung will have to contend with several rapidly growing rivals. The launch of the iPhone 6 and new models of the Galaxy may not be sufficient weapons. Experts expect the iPhone 6 may replace as many old iPhones as it adds to Apple’s part of market. The same could hold true for the iPhone 7.
China, in particular, has two contenders for Apple’s and Samsung’s dominance in the world’s largest wireless market. Apple has told investors that the most important country for additional iPhone sales is China. Xiaomi and PC company Lenovo have taken much of the business in the People’s Republic. Each has aspirations to make inroads across the rest of the world. Xiaomi also has started to move into India.
The one clear winner in the smartphone race is Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Android OS. It dominates the market, and Apple’s iOS trails well behind. In a competitive sector, no matter how quickly it grows or which manufacturers hold the larger portion, Android will not be caught.