IDC: Windows Phone Will Become No. 2 Mobile Operating System in 2015

IDC Forecasts Worldwide Smartphone Market to Grow by Nearly 50% in 2011

by Anton Shilov
03/29/2011 | 11:16 PM

At present Google Android and Nokia Symbian power the vast majority of smartphones sold worldwide. Market share of Symbian is gradually declining and since Nokia Corp. officially said that Windows Phone will become its default OS for smartphones going forward, Symbian simply has no future. IDC forecasts that by 2015 the Windows Phone will become the world's No. 2 mobile operating system after Android.


The worldwide smartphone market is expected to grow 49.2% in 2011 as more consumers and enterprise users turn in their feature phones for smartphones with more advanced features. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) worldwide quarterly mobile phone tracker, smartphone vendors will ship more than 450 million smartphones in 2011 compared to the 303.4 million units shipped in 2010. Moreover, the smartphone market will grow more than four times faster than the overall mobile phone market.

"Overall market growth in 2010 was exceptional. Last year's high market growth was due in part to pent-up demand from a challenging 2009, when many buyers held off on mobile phone purchases. The expected market growth for 2011, while still notable, will taper off somewhat from what we saw in 2010," said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC.

To capture the strong consumer demand for smartphones, manufacturers have unleashed a steady stream of new models and features over the past two years. The battle for mind and market share has also resulted in stiff competition among the smartphone operating systems.

Worldwide Smartphone Operating System 2011 and 2015 Market Share and 2011-2015 CAGR

  2011 market share 2015 market share 2011-2015 CAGR
Android 39.5% 45.4% 23.8%
Windows Phone 5.5%


iOS  15.7% 15.3% 18.8%
Blackberry 14.9% 13.7% 17.1%
Symbian 20.9% 0.2% -65%
Others 3.5% 4.6% 28%
Total 100% 100% 19.6%

 "Android is poised to take over as the leading smartphone operating system in 2011 after racing into the number 2 position in 2010. For the vendors who made Android the cornerstone of their smartphone strategies, 2010 was the coming-out party. This year will see a coronation party as these same vendors broaden and deepen their portfolios to reach more customers, particularly first-time smartphone users," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's mobile devices technology and trends team

Nokia's recent announcement to shift from Symbian to Windows Phone will have significant implications for the smartphone market going forward.

"Up until the launch of Windows Phone 7 last year, Microsoft has steadily lost market share while other operating systems have brought forth new and appealing experiences. The new alliance brings together Nokia's hardware capabilities and Windows Phone's differentiated platform. We expect the first devices to launch in 2012. By 2015, IDC expects Windows Phone to be number 2 operating system worldwide behind Android," added Mr. Llamas.