The global smartphone growth is expected to slow further, said a latest mobile phone forecast. It adds that smartphone shipments are expected to grow 11.3 percent in 2015, down from 27.6 percent in 2014.
This could be the first year smartphone growth in China will finish behind the global market which could affect Google's Android mobile operating system, the International Data Corporation (IDC) said in a statement.
"China has been a critical market for Android smartphone shipments in recent years, accounting for 36 percent of total volume in 2014," said Ryan Reith, programme director with IDC's “Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker”.
“As reported earlier in May, smartphone shipments in China actually declined year over year in the first quarter of 2015, showing that the largest market in the world has reached a level of maturity where rapid growth will be harder to achieve,” Reith said.
As Chinese original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) shift their focus from the domestic market to the next high-growth markets, they will face a number of challenges, including competition from “local brands”.
IDC expects this year to bring two notable milestones.
First, this will be the first year in which China's smartphone growth, forecast to be 2.5 percent, will be slower than the worldwide market.
Second, and somewhat related to the China forecast, Android smartphone growth is also expected to be slower than the worldwide market at 8.5 percent in 2015.
Both trends will persist throughout the forecast period which now goes to 2019.
While overall smartphone growth will continue to slow, many markets will experience robust growth in 2015 and beyond.
The worldwide shipment volumes are forecast to reach 1.9 billion units annually by 2019, IDC noted.
Apple faced a similar situation in 2012-14, when its year-over-year growth rates were slightly below the worldwide market.
But its recent shift in product line to bigger screen models with a broader country reach has had an immediate impact on volumes.
IDC expects iOS smartphones to grow 23 percent in 2015 and remain above worldwide market growth rates throughout the forecast.