Over the last five years, China and the United States have been the leading markets for smartphone shipments. But technology research firm Strategy Analytics says that these markets are reaching maturity and slowing down. The report predicts that India will be the next major market for smartphone shipments.
Strategy Analytics projects that India will sell about 174 million units in 2017, up from 82 million units sold in 2014. That represents more than twice the number of smartphones sold in that country last year. That estimate is slightly higher than what the United States is expected to sell — 169 million units — in 2017.
India will remain one of the most vibrant markets for smartphones through 2017, according to Strategy Analytics. In contrast, growth in the U.S. market is grinding to to a halt. The report projects only a 1% increase in U.S. smartphone shipments between 2016 and 2017. This is the result of high smartphone penetration in the U.S., where around 70% of the population owns a smartphone.
China will remain the global leader in smartphone shipments by a wide margin. Linda Sui, a director with Strategy Analytics, said that the Chinese market is also reaching maturity. Arounbd 505 million units are expected to be sold in China in 2017, but that represents only a 3% increase in sales from the previous year.
India is expected to have sustained growth into 2017, according to the Strategy Analytics report. Woody Oh, who charts smartphone sales by country for Strategy Analytics, warned that no “serious global hardware or software players can afford to ignore the huge Indian smartphone market today.”