iPhone shipments will get worse before they get better

By

iPhone 6 Plus_7
Apple will have to wait until next year for iPhone growth to return.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is confident the iPhone will bounce back from its current slump in demand, but new forecasts suggest shipments will get worse before they get better. Researchers don’t expect growth to return until 2017 when Apple introduces bigger upgrades.

While pace has certainly slowed in recent years, worldwide smartphone shipments as a whole continue to grow. IDC expects the total figure to reach 1.48 billion this year before rising to 1.84 billion in 2020.

Unfortunately for Apple, shipments of the iPhone aren’t expected to follow that upward trend anytime this year.

“Apple is expected to face its first down year for iPhone in 2016 with shipments dropping from 232 million in 2015 to 227 million in 2016,” reports IDC. “The expected decline of 2% year over year is a significant change from past years’ growth.”

IDC adds that this “marks a pivotal moment” for Apple, but it is confident growth will return in 2017 and beyond, thanks in part to its early trade-in programs and the cost of entry-level iPhones like the iPhone SE.

Sales are also expected to see a significant boost in late 2017 after Apple launches the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which are expected to bring faster processors, improved cameras, and bags of storage.

The iPhone 7 Plus is also likely to deliver Apple’s first dual-lens camera system, 3GB of RAM, and a Smart Connector.

By 2020, IDC expects iPhone shipments to reach 267 million units. We’ll have to wait and see whether Apple’s rumored switch to a three-year cycle for major upgrades will have any kind of impact on that — if at all true.