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IDC Sees Smartphone Growth Slowing to 6% by 2018 as Demand Wanes

Smartphone shipment growth will slow to 6.2 percent in 2018 from 19 percent this year now that many consumers in markets like North America and Europe already have devices like the iPhone or Galaxy S5, research firm IDC said.

Smartphone makers will deliver 1.2 billion devices this year after passing the billion mark in 2013, IDC said today in a statement. Still, growth in 2014 will decline from 38 percent last year, the most significant slowdown yet, the firm said.

To encourage users to replace their devices with new models, iPhone maker Apple Inc. has been developing designs including bigger screens with curved glass. Manufacturers like Samsung Electronics Co., which sells the Galaxy, are also branching out into other gadgets such as Internet-connected watches.

While IDC expects Google Inc.’s Android to maintain its dominant lead as the biggest smartphone operating system, its share of the market will drop to 76 percent in 2018 from 79 percent this year, IDC said. Apple’s iOS will slide to 14 percent from 15 percent, while Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone will climb to 7 percent from 3.9 percent, the Framingham, Massachusetts-based research firm said. BlackBerry Ltd., once the world’s biggest smartphone maker, will see its operating-system market share dwindle to 0.3 percent from 1 percent in the period, IDC said.

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