IDC: Windows Phone will grow to 6.4% share by 2018, as BlackBerry crumbles to 0.3%

The last few years have not been kind to BlackBerry, as the pace of change and development in the industry has left it far behind its rivals. Even the company's latest operating system, BlackBerry 10, has not reversed its fortunes - although this is not entirely surprising, given that its own CEO, John Chen, admitted that BB10 is less than intuitive, and that potential customers may be put off by its steep learning curve. 

It seems that there may be even worse to come, as industry analysts IDC today released some very gloomy projections for the Canadian company. As Bloomberg reports, IDC believes that BlackBerry's worldwide smartphone shipments will plummet by more than 50% this year, and that it will end 2014 with just 0.8% of the global market, down from 1.9% last year. That slide may well be irreversible, as the research firm forecasts that BlackBerry's market share will fall further to just 0.3% by 2018. 

By contrast, Android is predicted to finish this year with a staggering 80.2% share, thanks to an impressive showing at both the upper and lower ends of the market. Premium devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 are selling in huge numbers, while ever more capable flagships are being launched, such as LG's new G3. Handsets like the Moto E are also bringing smartphone user experiences to ever-lower price points, as manufacturers try to encourage feature phone users to upgrade to new Android devices. Even so, IDC predicts that Android's share will dip slightly to 77.6% in 2018. 

Apple's market share is also forecast to decrease slightly by then, from an estimated 14.8% this year to 13.7% in 2018. But Windows Phone is expected to grow considerably over the next few years. By 2018, Microsoft's mobile OS is projected to grow to 6.4% worldwide, up from an estimated 3.5% share at the end of 2014.

Microsoft has succeeded in signing up a large number of new hardware partners for Windows Phone this year, including Lenovo, LG, XOLO and ZTE back in February and, more recently, Blu and K-Touch. Much of Windows Phone's growth is expected towards the lower end of the market, thanks to more affordable handsets like Microsoft's own Lumia 630.

Source: IDC/Bloomberg | top image via BlackBerry; centre image via Motorola; bottom image via Nokia

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Enron said,

I'm not a big Android fan but to put things in perspective, those Galaxy phones aren't low end and they sell tens of millions of those. It's just that the Android user base is so huge that the low end phones make up the majority of sales even though the "flagship" phones still sell very well.

Exactly... the Android market is huge.

230 million Android phones were sold last quarter. But flagships are only a small percentage of that.

We tend to talk about only a handful of flagship phones on tech blogs (Galaxy S5, LG G3, HTC One) and a few decent but cheaper Android phones (Moto G/E)

But the overwhelming majority of Android phones sold are models we've never even heard of... sold in China and India... for a VERY cheap price.

No one talks about those phones... even though they are what gives "Android" such incredible market share.

Even with very liberal projection, in 4 years the share of WP will increase by mere 3%. No sane investor should invest in that kind of growth rate which is less than 1% per year considering MS throwing so much money in this black-hole. Whole fisher price metro UI has to blame as it is butt ugly to look at.

Auditor said,
Even with very liberal projection, in 4 years the share of WP will increase by mere 3%. No sane investor should invest in that kind of growth rate which is less than 1% per year considering MS throwing so much money in this black-hole. Whole fisher price metro UI has to blame as it is butt ugly to look at.


Its easy to say that when you have no interest in the product to begin with.

If MS really wants to get anywhere in the market, they have to accept slow growth. No one can just start a new phone OS from scratch and suddenly dethrone bigger players, it does not happen. As long as MS sees enough growth, they are probably more than willing to play the long game.

Auditor said,
Even with very liberal projection, in 4 years the share of WP will increase by mere 3%. No sane investor should invest in that kind of growth rate which is less than 1% per year considering MS throwing so much money in this black-hole. Whole fisher price metro UI has to blame as it is butt ugly to look at.

As much as I despise metro on a desktop I think it's the best UI I have ever used on a phone and also good, but not as good, on my surface rt.

Going from 3% to 6% in a few years isn't a 1% growth rate. If you can double in three years at a 1% growth rate, I want your bank account!

Enron said,
Going from 3% to 6% in a few years isn't a 1% growth rate. If you can double in three years at a 1% growth rate, I want your bank account!

You are right about the growth rate as it is approx 25% per year but I meant increase in market share which will be still less than 1% per year. If in 4 years WP is going to make 6% market share then its is very low specially in fast changing technological landscape. MS has already lost their smartphone and tablet war and they won't be making any significant progress beside having small market share. Their situation will be even worse than their situation in search market where beside their best effort to capitalize almost desktop monopoly they still far lag behind Google.

MS need to really innovate and bring something new to the table rather than laughing off when some new technology comes in the picture. Right now MS is a follower and their strategy has been to laugh off at things first and when they start getting hammered they come out with most ridiculous solution of their own which was really not solution to any problem to begin with. This is what was in Ballmer era, we still have to see what Nadella brings to the table.

Auditor said,

You are right about the growth rate as it is approx 25% per year but I meant increase in market share which will be still less than 1% per year. If in 4 years WP is going to make 6% market share then its is very low specially in fast changing technological landscape. MS has already lost their smartphone and tablet war and they won't be making any significant progress beside having small market share. Their situation will be even worse than their situation in search market where beside their best effort to capitalize almost desktop monopoly they still far lag behind Google.

MS need to really innovate and bring something new to the table rather than laughing off when some new technology comes in the picture. Right now MS is a follower and their strategy has been to laugh off at things first and when they start getting hammered they come out with most ridiculous solution of their own which was really not solution to any problem to begin with. This is what was in Ballmer era, we still have to see what Nadella brings to the table.

As you said, that was a lot of Ballmer's fault so yes let's hope Nutella does better. As far as 6%, it really depends on if that's 6% of a market that continues to grow each year or if it ends up peaking at some point.

So in a small number example, let's say today there are 100 smart phone users in the world and MS has a 3% share, that's 3 people. If 3 years from now there are 300 smart phone users and MS has a 6% share, that's 18 people. Going from 3 to 18 users would still be very successful growth, even if the competition still has the majority of users.

Of course, that doesn't solve the problem of not having priority app development and support, which is probably the biggest problem WP has today. In regions where market share is 10%+, it seems like app support is picking up.

I guess the main feature of smartphones are apps and even though the number of users for WP might increase in future but I think app developers are going to focus more on or at least give more priority to platform which has relatively highest number of user, as you mentioned. Considering if Android retains 80% market share and WP has 6% share, taking example of 300 users in market, 240 users will be on Android and 18 users on WP. It will be quite evident app developers will be putting much emphasis and resources to cater 240 users rather than 18 users. This is the problem which WP is facing today and this is the problem they will continue to face in future.

Whether MS 6% market share in future will be considered successful or not is very subjective so no arguing on that point. But MS really need to provide value propositions in their devices, which they are significantly lagging right now, and their hybrid approach in PC market is also creating identity crisis and not many people are really looking for hybrid approach anyway. MS need to shift their vision from this hybrid approach to more segregated approach.

This is what they did in 2000 when they plastered Desktop OS on their tablet version and in 2014 they are trying to plug tablet interface on Desktop OS. They need to create separate OS for each different device rather than one fit all approach. This inherent flaw in their approach is causing so much grief to MS and it will continue till they realize this obvious fact. Regardless, ugly Metro interface is not very helping MS either.

I believe a lot of people here forecasted that WP would overtake Apple by next year or 2016. Wonder how that prediction turned out :p I guess that funeral MS held for the iPhone in 2010 was nothing but a waste of money.

Definitely not and probably never in the US, but in other parts of the world, it is already true.

But yeah, funeral was a dumb idea.

Enron said,
Definitely not and probably never in the US, but in other parts of the world, it is already true.

If you want to use that analogy, then in some parts of the world WP has less market share than Blackberry.

Analysts typically get it very wrong, I see no reason that Windows Phone will get anywhere near 6% by 2018. I am sure that I can find other reports that said WP marketshare should be much higher by now.

derekaw said,
Analysts typically get it very wrong, I see no reason that Windows Phone will get anywhere near 6% by 2018. I am sure that I can find other reports that said WP marketshare should be much higher by now.

I think their reasoning is based on growth trends. WP has been on a steady incline for a while. It just isnt growing at much levels than the competition, so the percentages don't change quickly.

It isn't hard to find evidence of WP adoption growing at a good rate.

well analysts are always wrong. it could be that or 16%. they don't know. if they had, they would have predicted apple as low as 12% this year and they never did.

neonspark said,
well, at least it is heading the right direction, unlike apple.

Don't forget... market share is simply the percentage of sales from all manufacturers over 3 months. And Apple is a single company in a sea of others.

You're right... Apple's market share has been going down. But their actual sales have been going up. That's the funny thing about percentages.

Apple may have only 15% of the smartphone market... but they still sold 43 million iPhones last quarter. And 51 million iPhones in the quarter before that.

Plus... the iPhone actually increased sales from those same quarters a year ago... even though their "share" has decreased. Again... that's how percentages work.

Market share... by itself... is a meaningless number unless you know the size of the entire market.

You say Apple's market share is going in the wrong direction... but you completely ignored the fact that Apple's sales are increasing. That's a rather important distinction... wouldn't you agree?

BTW... Apple has NEVER has a decent share of the smartphone market. I think the highest they ever had was in the low 20's a few years ago. They're around 15% now and this article says they'll have 13.7% in 2018.

In your words... Apple would be failing because their market share is dropping. But you don't account for the growth of the entire market.

Once again... percentages are meaningless without context.

I see the people who all jumped on the "bash IDC" bandwagon when they originally predicted MS would introduce an Xbox One SKU without Kinect are noticeably absent with their FUD and nonsense about IDC.

I'd call them out but they'd go crying to their mod buddies.

Lord Method Man said,
I see the people who all jumped on the "bash IDC" bandwagon when they originally predicted MS would introduce an Xbox One SKU without Kinect are noticeably absent with their FUD and nonsense about IDC.

I'd call them out but they'd go crying to their mod buddies.


Many people online like to use sources like IDC only when it fits their agenda instead of either accepting their data always or never.

Some people will hold up IDC numbers unless its reflecting positively on a product they don't like.

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