IDC: Windows Phone to surpass Apple’s iOS by 2015

The worldwide smartphone market is forecast to grow 55% year over year in 2011 as a growing number of users turn in their feature phones for more advanced devices. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors will ship a total of 472 million smartphones in 2011 compared to roughly 305 million units shipped in 2010. That figure will nearly double to 982 million by the end of 2015.

The fast-growing smartphone market, which will grow more than four times the rate of the overall mobile phone market this year, is being fuelled by falling average selling prices, increased phone functionality, and lower-cost data plans among other factors, which make the devices more accessible to a wider range of users.

“The smartphone floodgates are open wide,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, in the press release. “Mobile phone users around the world are turning in their ‘talk-and-text’ devices for smartphones as these devices allow users to perform daily tasks like shopping and banking from anywhere. The growth trend is particularly pronounced in emerging markets where adoption is still in its early days. As a result, the growth in regions such as Asia/Pacific and Latin America, will be dramatic over the coming years.”

Smartphone Operating Systems

“Underpinning smartphone growth is the rapidly shifting operating system landscape,” added Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Phone Technology and Trends team, in the press release. “End-users are becoming more sophisticated about what kinds of experiences are offered by the different operating systems. Taking this as their cue, operating system developers will strive for more intuitive and seamless experiences, but will also look to differentiate themselves along key features and characteristics.”

IDC expects Android, which passed Symbian as the leading operating system worldwide in Q4 2010, to grow to more than 40% of the market in the second half of 2011. A significant and growing list of vendors who have made Android the cornerstone of their respective smartphone strategies is propelling the growth of Android.

Symbian will steadily lose share throughout the forecast period as its biggest supporter Nokia transitions its smartphone strategy to Windows Phone. This will present a huge opportunity for competing operating systems to gain footing. Still, Nokia’s commitment to support Symbian devices until 2016 will keep the installed base of Symbian-powered smartphone users on par with its competitors.

Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile will benefit from Nokia’s support, scope, and breadth within markets where Nokia has historically had a strong presence. Until Nokia begins introducing Windows Phone-powered smartphones in large volumes in 2012, Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile will only capture a small share of the market as the release of Mango-powered smartphones are not expected to reach the market until late 2011. Nevertheless, assuming that Nokia’s transition to Windows Phone goes smoothly, the OS is expected to defend a number 2 rank and more than 20% share in 2015.

iOS was the third ranked OS going into 2011 and will remain a force in the mobile phone market throughout the forecast. After an initial explosive growth period, iOS is expected to grow at a more modest pace throughout the latter half of the forecast as the smartphone market matures and diversifies. Although a small market share decline is expected, IDC expects significant overall shipment volume growth through the end of 2015.

BlackBerry OS is expected to maintain its position as a Top 4 smartphone operating system over the forecast period. Like iOS, the BlackBerry OS will experience market share decline even as shipment volumes grow throughout our forecast.

Worldwide Smartphone Operating System 2011 and 2015 Market Share and 2011-2015 Compound Annual Growth Rate
Worldwide Smartphone Operating System 2011 and 2015 Market Share and 2011-2015 Compound Annual Growth Rate
Note: Market share based on unit shipments.

Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker

MacDailyNews Take: The press release states that IDC is located in Framingham, Massachusetts, which means that, wow, the weekend starts really early at IDC!

You’d better believe that this one’s been iCal’ed for future use.


  1. Apple having one phone is cause huge pain and suffering in the market. Just imagine if Apple chose to release three models with various price points. No one is considering this in there forecast? Very look at my feet as I predict the future myopia.

    I personally think the others will have slowed growth as they scramble to put together a system as simple that Steve Jobs just announced at WWDC. Just iCloud as a convience is a huge selling point and should nof be overlooked.

    Then again, just because you can produce a product does not mean it provides the same level of customer satisfaction. Apple experience in this area is unmatched in the tech field. I will stick with Apple on solid growth.

    1. I’d like to point out that convenience is way way down the check list of walmart shoppers. There’s no quality hurdle either, its price, price, price compared to feature list. It can be the damn hardest thing in the world to master, but if it’s $1 cheaper, hide the cheeseburgers, because the walmart crowd will be lining up.

      Some of the points above are accurate, another key factor is the Oracle Google litigation that could force Google to begin charging licensing fees for Android (or be forced to share ad revenue with Oracle). In that case, it will be very hard for Androids to compete on features and price with Apple, especially as Apple develops it’s own proprietary chips that will also blow away the intel dependent phone mfgs.

  2. Stupidest thing I ever heard of. What good is ANY kind of prediction that’s more than 2 years away? The market and the products on it are constantly changing in significant ways.

    1. This is what I always say about weather forecasts trying to predict more than 2 or 3 days into the future. After a certain point, it’s little more than dart-throwing and wild guesses.

  3. in March IDC said iOS would be 15.3, now they’ve changed it to 16.9 (after being shocked by ACTUAL iPhone sales announced in the quarter)

    so if they can change by about 2% in a few months… what’s 2015 actualy going to be?

    1. And the Windows share of the smartphone market is actually FALLING currently. I recently saw a chart showing smartphone ownership by platform from January to April 2011. Windows (all versions) went from 8% in January to 6.7% in April.

  4. Interesting how they predict the future with no facts to back it up. Nokia has been dropping like a rock. Microsoft hasn’t done anything right. Apple has been at record quarters for the past two years with no end in sight. iPhone has been selling out to lines that go for blocks. IOS 5 changes everything with cloud support. What do they base there prediction on. Two failing companies. Not a good prediction if you ask me.

  5. iPhone market share outpaces Android in international markets – it’s only here in the US the Android has outpaced iOS and that is going to change.

    Three factors will change that – multiple carriers, lowest cost iPhone models on multiple carriers, and a growing seamless ecosystem.

    I’m expecting that we are soon going to enter a period of mergers and acquisitions to respond to this competitive threat but few will survive in the next three to five years.

    So far, it appears that Microsoft is headed for another Zune experience and their Windows 8 hum is muted compared to the iOS buzz. Nokia is going to be the casualty. MS might buy it to keep their brand alive.

    Motorola is fairly agile so I expect them to be around for some time. RIM, unfortunately, is in decline and I expect them to see widespread erosion in the corporate space in the next two years as hardware/contract cycles come due and competitors increase their security. I expect RIM to be shopping itself to potential buyers in 2013.

      1. Apple is just getting started overseas. Meanwhile Android phones are being given away, offered 2 for the price of 1, and sold for $.01. And don’t forget that “research” companies like InMobi measure market share by extrapolating ad impressions. How badly are the numbers of ad impressions per OS skewed by the fact that iOS automatically doesn’t run Flash ads? Also, the numbers from InMobi are heavily weighted toward users in SE Asia, including India, where the iPhone is still unavailable.

        1. “How badly are the numbers of ad impressions per OS skewed by the fact that iOS automatically doesn’t run Flash ads?”

          this is exactly why the numbers don’t mean much.

          and think about this. how many iPhone 3G and 3GS are STILL in use?
          Android sold 67 million phones last year… most of them will be replaced this year with new ones.
          We just update our phones, we don’t all buy new hardware every year.
          I had my 3G for 2 years.. I *may* buy the iPhone 5 NEXT year.. which will mean i will have had my iPhone 4 for 2 years at least..

          I have a few co-workers with androids. 1 guy…. 1, ONE… has had the same Android phone for 2 years.. ALL others have had to get a new one at some point.
          i know of 2 that had to PAY to get a new Android due to them being bricked, and another that dropped his in the toilet.

          out of the 200 million iOS devices sold, i’d say 180+million are STILL in use.. and not on ebay/craigslist/pawn shops/desk drawers.

          android is also heavily depending on winning all the lawsuits against them. if they lose just a few key ones… Android will be gone. When you cheat to “get ahead” it always comes back to bite you.

      2. Really? And you base that on what, exactly? Just in my workplace I know of at least ten people with iPhones, not a single one with WinMob, Android or Blackberry, all the other phones I see are feature phones. Travelling on the Tube in London shows the same thing; for every Android or WinMob phone there’s probably half a dozen iPhones, plus Touches, Nano’s, etc. Personal observation shows iOS devises outnumbering all other smartphones by a significant margin.

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