IDC: Bright future for Windows Phone with 10 percent of the global smartphone market by 2017

Windows Phone is on the up, even if not everyone agrees. Microsoft and Nokia have been working hard to build market share in multiple markets, including the all-important US. Recent data collected by Kantar Worldpanel claims increasing sales for Windows Phone, especially in emerging markets like Mexico. But the bigger picture of market share is a different story since numbers are relative.

IDC has released its predictions for how it sees the smartphone market to be shaped in 2017, putting Windows Phone comfortably in third and closing the gap on Apple's iOS.

Overall Volume

Vendors are forecasted to ship more than 1.8 billion mobile phones this year, which is expected to increase to over 2.3 billion mobile phones in 2017. That's some volume. What about smartphones? IDC predicts smartphone shipments to grow 40 percent year-on-year to more than 1 billion units this year. This growth in the smartphone biz is largely due to steep subsidies from mobile operators and a surge of low-end hardware. Prediction for 2017? 1.7 billion smartphones to be shipped.

The more interesting question though pertains to how operating systems breakdown, which IDC does as well.

IDC Data

Trajectories for mobile operating systems

The above chart shows the company's predictions on how the smartphone market will look like in 2017 - Windows Phone branching off from BlackBerry and catching up to iOS, while Android loses some of its substantial lead. Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team, added the following:

"We believe Android and iOS will remain the clear number one and two platforms, respectively, throughout our forecast. What remains to be seen is how Windows Phone and BlackBerry's respective futures will play out pending their recent announcements. Windows Phone has inched ahead of BlackBerry during the first half of 2013, and we believe that will extend into the future. However, overall shipments will continue to trail those of Android and iOS."

It's clear to everyone Android won't be challenged anytime soon, especially with the backing of Samsung. Apple will attempt to launch a lower-cost iPhone to tempt consumers who may not wish to fork out for the expensive iPhone price tag, though it remains to be seen how effective this strategy will be against Microsoft and Nokia who can reach lower price points.

IDC Smartphone 2017

Windows Phone is predicted to solidify its third position and steady growth for the first-half of 2013 has been promising, especially with headlines such as the 15 percent captured in Vietnam. Small steps to compete in the marathon. 

Source: IDC

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.