The Most Prolific Devices on Earth

More Than 2 Billion Mobile Phones Set to be Sold in 2015

A staggering 71 phones will be manufactured and shipped each and every second of 2019.

CCS Insight’s latest global mobile phone forecast expects 2.24 billion unit sales in 2019, with smartphone shipments of almost 2 billion units. We also project that total mobile phone shipments will reach 2.01 billion units in 2015, of which 1.45 billion will be smartphones.

Most consumers in China, the world’s biggest mobile phone market, have now made the transition to smartphones, and this is leading to softening demand. However, we expect an impressive 75 percent rise in 4G adoption from 2014 to 2015, with China making up more than a third of the volume. Two out of every three phones sold in the region in 2015 will support 4G.

Depleted market growth in China means that most big increases in mobile phone sales are now fuelled by inexpensive Android smartphones in emerging markets, where most people can’t afford iPhones. Apple is instead looking to its instalment plans to maintain its current global market share for at least the next two years. Samsung remains the world’s biggest phone-maker by volume, but Chinese manufacturers like Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi together accounted for 21 percent of the 550 million Android smartphones sold worldwide in the first half of 2015. We expect these companies to pile even greater pressure on competitors as they seek new growth outside their home market.

The dominance of Android and iOS means there’s little opportunity for devices powered by other operating systems. Windows, which is currently a distant third in smartphone market share, is struggling to remain relevant in consumer smartphones. The only glimmer of hope lies with business users, who will help Microsoft’s operating system retain a market share of 4 percent on mobile phones in 2017. As Microsoft unites its PC and phone platforms under the Windows 10 banner, it will take cold comfort from such a meagre slice of the pie.

For a more detailed analysis of our forecast, see Saturated Chinese Market Dents Global Mobile Phone Growth (subscription required).