A recent report from market research firm IDC and AT&T shows the smartphone is gearing up for a dominant reign at the top of the mobile phone world. The study forecast that by 2019, smartphones will account for 88 percent of all mobile phones shipped, a 15 percent increase over 2015.
The news comes as Gartner earlier released its own research, explaining that while the pace of smartphone growth may taper from its current explosive state, it still expects smartphone growth to continue at a strong pace.
Necessity drives further smartphone growth
The study from IDC found a few key drivers for the continued climb of the smartphone, the first of which is its commoditization. Smartphones continue to become less a luxury and more a necessity for business and personal communication. This shift has occurred not only in the U.S. but in developing countries, as well.
The study also identified the following as key drivers of smartphone growth:
- Prices that fit nearly every budget
- Broad and deep selection of models for end users
- More vendors transitioning their product portfolios to highlight smartphones
Mobile workplace continues to expand
Although demand in the global smartphone market looks to slow from its record pace, demand in the workplace continues to soar. IDC reported 339 million smartphones “expected to be used for work” were shipped in 2015. They expect that number to rise to 444 million by 2019.
This echoes the larger trend toward mobility in the workforce. In a separate report, IDC predicted that the U.S. mobile worker population will grow to 105 million by 2020, ultimately comprising nearly 75 percent of the country’s total workforce.
This figure echoes the increasing emphasis enterprises are placing upon mobility. Not only are leading corporations realizing mobile provides an additional platform on which to engage with stakeholders, but they’re also realizing the business benefit of mobility from an internal perspective.
In its simplest form, think how a business can leverage a mobile app. An app can deliver previously unattainable insight into customer behavior and decision-making. It can also be used to drive internal collaboration and provide a convenient engagement point for both employees and customers. And these benefits barely scratch the surface. As use cases continue to evolve, mobile growth in the enterprise will grow along with it.
OS market share set for stability
The study also explored the future market share for major operating systems. Notably, IDC predicted a slight fall in market share for Android, from 80 to 79.1 percent, as well as for iOS, from 15.2 percent to 13.5 percent.
That market share will be absorbed by Windows phones, as they’re predicted to grow from 3.5 percent to 5.9 percent. According to the report, Blackberry is expected to remain stable at .5 percent market share.
However, with the recent news that Blackberry will no longer produce its own hardware, you can expect the already meager market share of Blackberry to slowly fade. This leaves Android, iOS and Windows devices to carry the lion’s share of the market.
The Growing Need for Mobile Testing Strategies
With the smartphone set to continue its reign at the top of the mobile world (both in and out of the workplace), it’s increasingly vital that your team have a thoughtful and efficient mobile testing strategy.
You need a strategy that accounts for an adequate blend of testing types across an array of operating systems. Not sure what that looks like? You can read our top ten tips for creating a sound mobile testing strategy here.
 This study was published before Blackberry announced it was ceasing hardware production.