The smartphone market is set for its slowest ever year of growth, according to new figures on Thursday, while overall shipments for wearable technology continues to soar.
Worldwide smartphone shipments will hit 1.43 billion units in 2015, a year-on-year growth of 9.8 percent, the first full-year of single-digit growth on record, according to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC).
Google's Android mobile operating system (OS) is expected to have a 81.2 percent market share this year, growing 9.5 percent from the year before. Apple's iOS is forecast to own 15.8 percent of the market, with shipments growing 17.3 percent year-on-year, while Windows Phone will have just 2.2 percent market share, a 10.2 percent decline.
The weaker growth has mainly been due to an economic slowdown in China as well as the world's second-largest economy becoming a replacement market – where users generally refrain from buying brand new products. Shipment growth in China is only forecast to be in the low single digits, IDC said.
As shipments slow across many markets, IDC said consumers will be enticed by affordable high-value handsets and attractive financing options on pricier models.
"Vendors will look to push device financing and trade-in options across many of the developed markets as growth in these markets is expected to primarily come from replacement purchases and second devices," Anthony Scarsella , research manager with IDC's mobile phones team said in a statement.
"Apple has taken the lead with its iPhone Upgrade Program, and several other vendors are expected to implement similar plans in the months ahead. These plans could represent the most effective way to get flagship devices into the hands of consumers while speeding up the upgrade cycle through trade-in and incentives."