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Smartphones Prices To Plummet, China Calls

Demand for iPhones, Samsung & Co. will slump more “significantly” this year than ever before, say analysts. 

2014 smartphone shipments growth is expected to grow almost 20% to 1.2 billion – a far cry from 39% growth in 2012. Demand in North America and Europe will grow less than 10% this year, and Japan is also predicted to slump. 

But there’s more bad news. Shipments will grow just 8% in 2017 and 6% in 2018. 

However, high growth is expected in many emerging markets, like China which could explain Apple’s recent activity there, and Latin America. 

However, the good news for the consumer is the price of smartphones, especially Androids and Windows Phones, are expected to plummet to US$200 by 2018. 

IDC predicts Apple will maintain a tight focus on high end devices, so don’t expect cheap iPhones any time soon, with prices to remain at the $600 mark.

“2014 will be an enormous transition year for the smartphone market. Not only will growth decline more than ever before, but the driving forces behind smartphone adoption are changing” said Ryan Reith, IDC analyst. 

“New markets for growth bring different rules to play by and ‘premium’ will not be a major factor in the regions driving overall market growth.”

Telco’s and device manufacturers now face challenges are seeking opportunities to shift phones wherever they can.

This may explain why several makers like Sony, Samsung and LG have gone gung-ho on wearable technologies like smartwatches and bands which act as a companion to smartphones, as well as launching a slew of more affordable phones.
“In order to reach the untapped demand within emerging markets, carriers and OEMs will need to work together to bring prices down,” warns Ramon Llamas, IDC’s.  

Android phones including the likes of Samsung Galaxy’s, HTC One and LG’s will maintain its reign in the industry, while Apple iOS will remain the number 2 player.  

Windows Phone stands to grow as the fastest mobile platform, with Nokia and nine new partners, announced at MWC this week. 

IDC remains conservative on BlackBerry’s future. 

The company’s recent moves to shore up its presence with government and enterprise users as well as its strongholds within emerging markets will be under constant attack from the competition. 

However, it’s higher-than-average prices compared to other platforms could inhibit its growth potential.