It may feel a little early to predict the trends, shifts and overall evolution of the global smartphone market for the full year, let alone the next half a decade, but that’s not stopping the International Data Corporation (IDC) from venturing some educated guesses today.

First and foremost, the research and analysis firm has reason to believe the industry will “rebound slightly” in 2017 after its lowest ever year-over-year growth, reported in 2016.

We’re talking an estimated 1.52 billion units to be shipped worldwide this year, up 3 percent from the previous tally, which only surged 2.5 percent compared to 2015’s total. “Improved economic conditions in many emerging markets” should then contribute to an even healthier 4.5 percent growth in 2018, alongside the highly anticipated “next round” of iPhones.

Speaking of, Apple is expected to sell 223.6 million iOS handhelds this year, up 3.8 percent from 2016’s gross, and enough for a 14.7 percent share that will remain lightyears behind Android’s commanding 85.1 slice of the pie.

Looking ahead, that game-changing OLED iPhone… 8 (?) is tipped to boost Cupertino’s overall 2018 numbers to more than 240 million. Meanwhile, Android will continue to have an average selling price problem, despite an “ongoing fight at the high end” driving innovation forward and prompting regular flagship upgrades for many power users.

Another interesting IDC forecast concerns the world’s most popular screen size category. It was literally just a few years back that the majority of smartphone buyers favored compact 4 to 5-inch models, and now both the 5 to 5.5-inch and 5.5 to 6-inch groups are more beloved by the masses.

As bezels will probably vanish before long, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that 5.5 to 6-inch phones are predicted to surpass the leading 5 to 5.5-inch category by 2021.

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