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IDC predicts Windows Phone will grow market share to 6.4 percent by 2018

Windows Phone 8.1

Research firm IDC loves numbers, especially when it comes to smartphone marketshare and shipments. Today we've got some numbers from the IDC that paint a forecast for the future of Windows Phone. Growth is in the cards for Windows Phone, while the future of BlackBerry is dicey.

The IDC expects BlackBerry's worldwide market share to dip to 0.8 percent in 2014 and could fall further to 0.3 percent by 2018. Android will continue to dominate this year with 80.2 percent of the global market, but will dip slightly to 77.6 percent in 2018. Apple will be at 14.8 percent this year, while dropping to 13.7 percent of the market in 2018.

The winner? Windows Phone.

The research at IDC expects Windows Phone to jump to 6.4 percent in 2018, up from 3.5 percent.

Of course, take all of this with a grain of salt. In September 2010, shortly before the launch of Windows Phone 7, the IDC gave a report that 'Windows Mobile' would have 9.8 percent market share in 2014. A little to the left there.

Source: Bloomberg Via: Neowin

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Reader comments

IDC predicts Windows Phone will grow market share to 6.4 percent by 2018

147 Comments

Expecting worldwide 15-20% by 2018 for windows phone is delusional, 5-10% is a more realistic figure. Android will be 75-80% because of hundreds of millions of smartphones shipping with it and you can't expect apple to go below 10-15% due to their massive popularity.

That's exactly right!!!.. But, these predictions aren't really to be taken seriously....
...................
I predict.
Android at 70%
iOS at 10%
WP at 15%
And BB at 5%
⬆hats more realistic IMO.

This is realistic:

Android at 85%
iOS at 10%
WP at 4%
And BB at 1%

Currently WP is losing market share, acording to IDC:

Q2 2013: 3.7%
Q3 2013: 3.6%
Q4 2013: 3.0%
Q1 2014: 2.7%

Then 4% market share for 2018 is an optimistic prediction

The global smartphone market is still growing. Windows Phone could sell like 200 million handsets a year at 2018 but stil sit between 6/9% marketshare. Just becouse the smartphone market is so huge.

That does'nt mean that the Windows Phone usage base iss'nt big enough for app developers and so. Yes sure its way smaller the Android (but thats so fragmented) and still smaller then iOS. But there's good money to be made for developers, and the Windows Phone platform has (despite the low marketshare) a to big consumerbase for anyone to ignore.

I dont think its definitely needed for Microsoft to get Windows Phone above 10%. It just needs to stay at its 3th place and keep Blackberry (and tizen and firefox OS) way down. With a indsustry so insainly big as the global smartphone market? The third place with 5-10% marketshare can be big enough to sustain it self!

You said it!!.. I completely agree.. Except for the fact that I think it's imminent that WP will surpass iOS in market share, and go beyond 10%...

Possible but I doubt it.   I don't think iOS will drop to ten percent at any time soon.   I would bet that Apple will remain at 15% on the strength of interest in their new larger display phones (launching soon) and a renewed/real push into a semi-entry phone market.   No matter what their cachet Apple cannot ignore the battle over those upgrading from feature phones.

Like IDC, I think BlackBerry will fail at their attempt at renewal and their percentage will drop through the floor.   I don't think WP will be at 15%, but we will be at approximately 10% and will finally be getting some respect from app developers.

this is my hasty reading of the crystal ball

May I ask why are you predicting such incredible growth for BB? Though it is fun to play the guessing game, I don't see how the IDC can predict windows phone growth beyond 12 month. 4yrs is a lifetime in tech. Who knows what the next disruptive tech or service will be and how it will impact the smartphone.

I'm waiting patiently to fully understand Msft's phone strategy beyond the increase in the number of WP OEMs. I predict growth of some kind for WP because of msft's muscle and emerging market strategy but I truly don't see how the IDC can assign a number 4.5 yrs from now. However, given that I live in the US, I so desperately want to see some sort of growth here. The one and only WP user I knew personally outside of my family has switched to iPhones for him and his family. However it doesn't shake my faith or love for MSFT products. I'm all in!!!

WP is over 10% in some parts of Europe, so this figure could jump higher with new releases. US mmmm not so good!

IDC does not have an idea of what WP9 or WP10 will be, which depending the features or design could make a lot users from other platforms to jump in.

Or killed by the end of 2015 if the current trend continues. Will Microsoft continue throwing money into a platform that has 2% market share after 5 years? Eventually they will need to stop wasting resources on it.

lol, yeah I was expecting better than 6.4%. Thing is, growth in tech is never "steady." Once something becomes "popular" it practically sells like hot cakes. I'm expecting/hoping that as WP and Win8 ecosystem begins to mature over the next year or so it really begins to catch on.

 

OEMs might help, but as far as I'm concerned Nokia have always and still do make the best handsets.

 

Seriously hope it does more than double in four years. 6% would be disappointing and I have yet to be disappointed by WP.

Already is in mine: 7 Windows Phones, all thanks to me. You're welcome, Joe Belfiore. Now freaking #SaveXboxWP for me.

Same here - all 6 WP's in my family thanks to me. And they all love 'em.

 

The only letdown at this point for me is Xbox Music...I miss Zune on my phone soo, so much...

+BRAZIL !! 3 of my friends bought Lumia phones thank to me. My mum had bought a 620, but has bought herself a S4 mini after I broke her 620 with my teeth - it was just after I'd gone through an endoscopy exam, I was trying to put the back cover back.

already 100 % on mine too, got my brother and his family to switch I am working on my other brother and sister and their families

I like that. I'm working on my wife. Already got her on a 2520. What I'm sure as she sure as hell not going to allow is IOS. That's for sure.

Just be patient. WP is on the rise mate. Perhaps IDC underestimated. But lets see how WP stands on 2018. Good News. Thanks

You again!
It's only dropped in the US...everywhere else (aside from China), it has risen quite nicely.
Europe already exceeds the IDC's 2018 prediction.
If only Microsoft could wake up and seize the opportunity it has.

Let me restate what you said to help shed some light on how absurd that notion is. More or less you’ve said Windows Phone market share has fallen in the world’s largest economy and the world’s most populace nation. Stated that way paints a more realistic picture. However, according to an earlier WPC post (http://www.wpcentral.com/windows-phone-10-percent-across-europe-struggle...) market share in the USA is actually rising a modest amount. Not that it matters. I’ve been with WP and WPC since June of 2011. Believe me when I tell you people have been saying and saying, “just wait until “X” date… Wait until “X” update… As soon as we hit “X” market share…” The reality is that WP is going to stay in the #3 spot as long as the mobile computing landscape remains stagnant… Meaning as long as we are using touch screen slab devices running mobile centric operating systems WP will stay far behind its competitors. Maybe Microsoft’s “ONE” vision will change the game enough to alter our current course, but I’ve been waiting for “ONE” to roll out since 2010… We are closer than ever before, but Windows 8, which I love, has me really doubting that Windows 9 will be all it was supposed to be back when the “ONE” vision road mapped Windows 9 as the threshold of a new era.  

I’m just happy that WP has put the death nail on BBOS and will unquestionable maintain the # 3 spot. 

Your so right...its been a "it is going to happen" party for to long..stop guessing IDC just let the market decide. I finally convinced my girl to get a surface (after a year) and I am an android user mind you and she likes it :D

I pretty much agree with all that you said, but the world's largest single economy - and probably biggest WP market - is the EU. It's understandable that Microsoft will concentrate on the US, and indeed China, but I wish Microsoft would recognise there's, a relatively rich, 510 million people here and we quite like Nokia/Windows Phone - capitalise on it!

true. amazing how msft is so US centric to the cries of global users, yet it seems the global market cares more while US users line up at the apple store. maybe joe belfiore should unveil wp 9 in mexico next time. they will give more of a damn about it...

Idk, I'm disappointed to be honest, I thought we would have more market share at this point. But hopefully we keep pushing forward.

@Clavitox this is only a prediction. It could be better by 2018. Lets hope IDC underestimated. But the forecast looks good.

I blame the carriers. Devs pur their money where market share is. Carrier training for WP is pathetic and ALL, and I mean ALL the US carriers suck badly at training Windows Phone... Hell everytime I go to the MS store I teach the agents there something. I have ghost shopped ATT tmobile, Verizon direct corporate store and like others mention all the reps run away from windows phone and push other stuff. Costco and Walmart (WalMart that is notorious for cheap and often has the 520 and 521 for like 0.99USD will still push maldroid.

Whenever I ask a sales associate why I wouldn't want a windows phone they always say because of apps. What apps ,the stupid app flavor of the month that is pushed out and then forgotton. Remember words with friends? Drawing with friends? Hanging with friends? That was all anyone ever talked about. I don't know a single person who could care less about them now. That garbage I want off my phone. I want stable apps, functional office tools, VPN and RPD and Windows Phone 8.1 does that for a windows PC better than iOS or android could with native fest party apps without have to dish out money for second-rate third-party garbage.

I actually agree, I have a cousin who works at AT&T and he mostly sells the Galaxies and iPhones in the world. I ask him if he ever sold the 1520, he told me no because he thinks Windows Phone doesn't have the key Apps people want such as Instagram and Snapchat. I'll give him Snapchat as the official app isn't out other than 6Tags version, but I showed him Instagram Beta and was impressed. I also showed him articles on how stable WP8 is compared to Android and iOS. Now he's playing with the 1520 at the moment

I also have a cousin  that works for Verizon Wireless Tech Support that has little training with WP8 and its the same situation. He had no clue on how to tell customers to turn on Group Text as a common complaint is that group texting doesn't work.

I hope that by gaining significant market share in single countries, the app argument will fade away (in those countries)
Banking apps, cinema apps, ... will come, since they can not ignore 10 or more percent of their customer base. Those apps are usually promoted in the country, so then you have free advertising ("available for IOS, Android and WP")

I doubt it.Unlike android and ios which have their hardcore users,wp has if I may say a "dual-core" hardcore wp fans and nokia fans.The second group will soon have no reason to stay.

so is the rougly 1% per year like intel's moore's law but this is instead the Joe Belfiore law? I like the guy but clearly, Satya needs to put in charge a person that won't take another 5 years of the same old strategy to deliver the numbers developers want to see in order to justify the need for WP development, rougly 15-20%. Because at this rate, it will probably not matter...

Keep in mind that this is still a percentage. If you take into account the total number of mobile phones out there and how many more there are year after year, WP is ultimately still gaining more than it gained in the previous year. Relative to the other OS's, maybe it's not that impressive, but the fact that it's still gaining when the whole market is still growing significantly, must mean something.

the market is growing faster than that. so while a rising tide lifts all ships, it really is something msft cannot make a habit of for once it saturates, it will be next to impossible to claw back up withou serious disruption

The Moore law is to keep shrinking the NM for efficiency gain at a loss of efficiency in declining marginal returns they hype the hell out of the miniscule improvement charge 10x more than AMD and still convince everyone it is better. Kinda like apple. "Why is this MacBook better than this VAIO?" mactivist reply, "because it is made by apple" but has like 75% parts made by Samsung.

ER while that's kind of rate Moore's law just means the number of transistors on an IC can double every 2 years. So while its about increasing efficiency, everything else you said seems just anti some company or another.

That's pretty conservitive I'd (like to) think. I see that number a few months after 8.1 rolls out officially! :) (Ok, so that's a bit optimistic... so maybe we'll meet in the middle!)

So, the expect wp to double (more a less) the marketshare in 4 years in the US. I'm I the only one who find these numbers very very disappointing?! I bet if Europe and India got half the attention Microsoft gives the US market we would already be way ahead of apple in these two huge markets. Anyway, not my "problem" anymore.

This not USA marketshare prediction, its worldwide marketshare prediction, other than that i agree with your sentiment.

It could mean those 10% markets become 20% markets, which would be great news for those of us living in them and wanting recognition for our platform of choice.

not just you. it is an unqualified disaster for MSFT. basically 4 years and still not break 10% after essentially 7 years of trying is the kind of failure that would get any executive swapped.

so far the justifications I've heard was that Sinofsky screw them up, ok, well, the guy is gone, the new CEO is in. It is time for the WP team to show what they are made of, or for somebody who can to be put in charge.

Buy an expensive gaming PC (maybe make a Surface Desktop which is basically a desktop version of the Razer Blade on steroids) get a free Xbox One AND Lumia 930.

It was much more optimistic initially due to encouraging response in Europe and parts of Asia, but the momentum in Asia has died down no thanks to more attractive offerings from Chinese brands like Lenovo, oppo, and soon brands like xiaomi and even Asus will be storming in. Given the changes in circumstances there was no option but to call it down.

I am starting to see a lot more WP8 devices around my work place, I have a work phone thats an Iphone & Its gone on next update in nov.. I have a personal Nokia 920 thats almost two years old as well.

Im glad to support the underdog in the big three (blackerry is doomed)

If you expect forecasts to not change even 1% every business quarter, then its obvious that you are the idiot. Do you not think assumptions might change even a little? Ever heard of economic downturns, natural disasters?

Ya I'm reading all these rosy reports about WP growing etc etc and taking on iOS/Android yada yada, while in reality it keeps being platform nobody is interested in, usually best nicest most beautiful games and apps appear for iOS, then SOME of them get ported to Android, and RARELY some really old rotten stuff like crappy 3 year old shooters from Gameloft do get indeed ported to WP. Sad, really pathetic.

Apps and especially games situation for WP looks just as bad nowadays as it was 3 years ago. No improvement whatsoever. Even unique and astonishing WP-only games like Tentacles got dropped support for WP and were ported to iOS where money and people are. WP is a freakin deserted landscape. MS is slowly but surely loses future market under constant unrelenting pressure from iOS and Android, at the same time wasting precious man-hours and money on stillborn idiotic porkbarrel projects like Surface RT and Windows RT. Really really sad view guys. Spoken from a former WP and Windows user.

Well it's a good thing Nadella started to cut off dead weight like Surface, the killing of useless 8" Surface RT is a good sign. But until I see a new driver for the revenue - I'll consider MS dead and slowly shrinking. Their profit margin started to go down past couple of quarters, if you read their quarterly reports. That's the beginning of the end guys. Balckberry was going down in exact same way, it also started with shrinking profits for them, and while MS won't go down as fast as BB because of strong grip on enterprise, it will go down, just because all the future growth markets are occupied by Apple and Google, with just a puny 3% left for poor old MS.

I think windows needs to flood some free phones into the market. Or through out some deals. They could easily hand out a whole load of 520's. Those things are cheap as chips!

Maybe stick a half price voucher in with every xbox one, offer a free xbox game with a sim free Lumia, or £50 xbox credit. A free Lumia 520 with every Surface, Office home premium subscription or Skype.... Even if the majority of people that are going to buy these things already have a Windows phone, many will be passed on as presents etc.

Only One person I have failed to convert and they went back to android...

Yes it is specialty out of US and markets which give support to WP are people that first thing they do is to download WhatsApp I had to sow my head underground with a person who knows I'm a WP geek and was looking for the app in the store what am I suppose to tell this people?

Here in Brazil people have bought a Lumia, then searched on the store and don't find WhatsApp and sold and bought an Android.
This is a fact. Brazil don't lives without some apps, like: WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram. 

Yes man. Its not 'just' one app. For a lot of people it has replaced text messaging entirely; and for a lot of other people its something that they use everyday. Not having WhatsApp is the equivalent of selling a phone without text messaging capabilities. It is a very big deal, even if not for you, or others who don't use it. There is a reason that someone just paid $19B for them.

Further, and this is a more general condemnation, this business of saying 'it is just one app' everytime someone mentions that WP is missing something is losing its argumentative force. WP is missing Tinder, Pinterest, Candy Crush, Snapchat, Starbucks, Yahoo! apps, 2048, almost every bank (in Canada, at least), and the list goes on and on. You can take issue with anyone of the apps I listed there or add and remove apps as they apply to, but the point is that while each app might 'just be one app', the combination of all of those missing from WP is like death by a thousand needles.

Without WhatsApp for windows phone, I don't see that happening. Instead, windows phone might become the next BlackBerry by 2018!

Well this what happens when MS gives way too much attention to USA only.

6.4% is very small market share considering 8 years life of WP

I on the other hand think this is pretty optimistic. Without Nokia and without a reputable OEM to take its place, their chances of growth are, in my view, smaller than before. While we may see a rise in US sales we'll certainly see a fall in European sales.

I've been to two different att locations and have been advised not to purchase a windows device. Mind you no valid reason was given.

Because there are so many OEMs promotes Android then the next should be windows phone. I'll be the happiest man on earth.

Only a 3% increase over the next 4 years??  That is pretty sad.  I hope that takes into account the possibilty of any near future phone platforms that may arise.

I'm just curious, how accurate have these predictions been historically? How does one find out? Not just Windows Phone of course...

I predict Windows Phone 15% iOS 15%, Maldroid 69%, BB with 1% primarily as a service only medium for people who still think BBM is cool or enjoy unsightly devices that are 5 years behind the curve (pun intended).

Ok, I'll bite, but unfortunately I'll cut WP by three percent and divide that three percent through all the tiny little new OS's like Samsung's Tizen.    I do think those new OS's will fail, but I do see them as taking a bit of the market before failing...    Now if Tizen can run Android apps without issue and Samsung throws their weight behind Tizen entirely, then that's another question.   If Tizen however can't run Android apps and they need to create their own ecosystem, then no they are doomed.  

I still wish HTC would have bought webOS and merged it to SenseOS. Or MS had purchased webOS for IP right and made WP and W8 better for it. Too bad apotheker ruined HP and meg is having to rebuild what he and Carly destroyed.

While I am aware of the broad strokes of what you are talking about, I expect you know it far better than I do.   I must say that I have a fair amount of affection for HP, and for that matter Motorola Mobility before Google bought them up and then sold them to the Chinese.   Normally I am not a very nationalistic kind of guy, but I really dislike it when some of our companies are sold to overseas buyers, ie IBM's PC division, IBM's hard drive division, Motorola, etc. etc. ad nauseam...

Lenovo!!  

That's cool. Keep giving google all your information for free. Like iTunes you pay to rent your own property. Oh that's right all of your iTunes are still rightfully the property of apple and all of your drive is property of google. It isn't yours. Go read your T&C. There is a reason Google is pushing so hard for apps for education. So they can spy on the brightest minds of the future, steal their ideas and patent them ... Just wait it will happen.

I'm staying on Windows Phone for the next 10 years. I don't see why we can't have an improved OS after Windows & Phone 9 & 10.

Very unlikely lol..Windows Phone is still the fastest growing smartphone platform, and we had a world record for the fastest texting, surely one of you could get that record back for WP..

If the prediction is bad, then its necessary to counter it... Some media's perception of Windows phone is still not reasonable, Education and Windows Phone are the key to enlightenment....

I also think that estimate of market share is low as within the next month or so we are going to see many new Oem's joining the Windows Phone Elite :) this alone will make a huge difference to their predictions also we have the official WP 8.1 release to complement that, + from reports many more places will be selling Windows Phone + awareness of Windows Phone will grow heavily because of all this in the next few months...I look forward to their predictions being too low :)

Wait and watch as of now since last 3 years Software Giant might be busy in strengthing its Cloud now they will Focus more on Consumer Products.

Moreover till now Phone was competing to match features with competitors and now they will incorporate new features. 

Now Giant aquired their biggest Phone maker and now together they will be able to make some outstanding products..

it is all about demands and the average brain of people of the world...we do not have many smart ppl... not more than 15%.... person who has no brain for information will choose trash like a n d r o i d.

There is some truth in that, looks like then Microsoft's main job is educating the general public about Windows phone so they make the wiser choice...

Lets hope this really happens.I sometimes imagine Microsoft buying Blackberry. Its a little facination I've had with these two companies that have good offerings. For now I'll keep my fingers crossed and I hope to see Microsoft being the Victor.

I have been noticing a lot more WP8 devices these days.  One awkward moment for me was I was in the elevator at work looking at my phone (Lumia 925).  A guy got onto the elevator who also happened to have a 925. We both noticed each others' phones at the same time and I could tell we both wanted to say something but neither of us did.  It was really awkward....lol.

Ever since I switched from the Android ecosystem to Windows Phone, I have been much happier! I had some people that asked why I switched from Samsungs Galaxy to Nokia's Lumia. I told them because I wanted something different and more stable than Android, and as a photo hobbyist, the Lumias are undisputed kings of high quality camera's in a smarthphone. I had a choice between upgrades as the HTC One M8 and the Samsung Galaxy S V were on sale for $99 with a two year contract and a second phone free.

The people of Verizon only mentioned those with me until I saw the Nokia Lumia Icon on sale as well. The sales associates told me that the Android phones take better pictures and have better apps than a Windows Phone. But I proved them wrong when we did a photo test, and showed that the WP is a better camera phone.

Give, yes, there aren't that much important apps on the market, but its growing and getting bigger. I love the Xbox integration of achievements and love how stable the OS. It has convinced most of my family that WP8 is the way to go. My brother is interested in the 1520, but its a shame that is AT&T exclusive. I'm hoping that a 1520 with WP8.1 will come to Verizon.

The Icon is a pretty sweet phone as well man :) not as big as the 1520 thats for sure but still a nice handset.

This is actually true and its happening in our place also. If you go to a multi-brand electronics section and you gi to Android phones, the sales man has a lot of interesting things to tell whether its just a gimmicks or whatever. But in Nokia section the salesman doesn't know anything much about the software and hardware the device even feature of it. I know more than him! So people would rather go to Android phones, nit because it is better, but because of the poor knowledge if the salesman.

LOL IDC expected 9.8% in 2014 and where are we actually, 4%? So they were over half wrong. Expecting 6.5 by 2018, if we accept their predictions as gross failures, suggests we will not move from where we are, even regress in marketshare. WP needing a miracle to see 10& marketshare before 2040 is a worrying probability.

IDC's prediction to 2014 should have been true if Microsoft spend a little more on marketing. Nokia and Microsoft's impression is a little lower than positive. Most people think of Windows as complicated OS that needs to enroll in school to learn it. Although we know it isn't true, some people think it is.

Agree this is not really great in fact it is pretty bad. It still needs to be seen what 8.1 will do to the market. Was all set to buy a new wp device after build conference, but nothing to buy. Will probably go with a new android flagship this summer.
Sent from my Moto X!

I believe MS will increase their chances if they release one signature phone a year alongside the Lumia-line following the model of the iPhone and the Galaxy S series. I believe it will create simplicity to the average consumer.

I am in the search of my first smartphone...yeah I know...

I want to buy a WP 8.1 but still in doubt because of the new Moto G LTE which seems to be good at specs and price. 

Also, WP8.1 is taking soo long to launch. 

That may be because they are getting all the oem's onboard first before a big push, give it a few more weeks...we should see a bigger selection of Windows Phones with some solid hardware specs very soon there are many oem's joining which will make a very competitive market....Windows Phone is already impressive a few more tweaks and it will sell itself and the usernase will skyrocket...