When you’re contemplating buying a new smartphone, Windows Phone is not an option that immediately springs to mind. However, going by a statement from Microsoft as early as this Jan, it seems the device has been steadily making its way into more and more hands in as many as 24 different markets worldwide with over 14 markets claiming it to be the #2 smartphone operating system used. With flagship devices like the Nokia Lumia 928, 1020, and 1520, as well as affordable ones such as the Lumia 520, 625, and 1320, the prospects for Windows Phone to provide a stiff challenge to the superior iPhone certainly seems brighter.
A recent report from Statista, The Statistical Portal indicates that nearly 70% of iPhone sales this fiscal are replacement buys. In fact, Apple saw its own market share in smartphones fall 3.5 percent to 15.2 percent. Statistica reports that the newer iPhone models of late only come with incremental feature updates rather than fundamental ones and Apple is struggling to convince iPhone users the need for updating their phones at least once a year.
In its latest forecast, market research firm IDC opines that phones shipped with Microsoft’s software will comprise 7 percent of the total market in 2018, which is 3.3 percent more from last year’s figures. The firm also expects total shipments of Windows Phone devices to increase from 33.4 million in 2013 to 121.1 million in 2018. According to IDC, Windows positive growth has been fueled by two significant factors; leading vendor Nokia’s offering of a diverse portfolio of Windows devices with a focus on the cheaper end of the market and Apple’s insistence on refusing to deliver a truly low-cost device, not to mention the company’s strategy of refreshing the iPhone only once a year.
There are of course plenty of obstacles along the way for the Windows Phone; a not-so-robust app store and Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia are just two reasons that may work against its rising growth. However, with Microsoft expanding its Windows Phone partners to nine, most of who are in emerging markets, there is a very good chance that Windows Phone will emerge a strong contender to the leading smartphones, even if only in such markets. And that should be good enough news for Microsoft.