What does it mean for ISVs when smartphone sales slow?

IDC expects smartphone sales to slow in the coming years

It seems that nearly everyone has a smartphone these days and with so many applications available to them, almost giving them the same capabilities as a personal computer, why wouldn't they?

For independent software vendors (ISVs), this offered a new medium to work with as more software as a service (SaaS) applications were becoming available for people's mobile phones and more customers wanted to buy products that were mobile-ready.

In fact, people were so keen to jump on the trend that it seems that smartphones may soon reach saturation point. At least, that is according to IDC, which predicts that the growth of smartphones is expected to slow worldwide by the year 2017. During 2013, smartphone shipments grew by 39.2 per cent compared to the previous year. Yet this year only 19.3 per cent of growth is expected and by 2017 this rate is expected to fall to 8.3 per cent.

Programme director at IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker Ryan Reith said: "In North America we see more than 200 million smartphones in active use, not to mention the number of feature phones still being used,

"2014 will be an enormous transition year for the smartphone market. Not only will growth decline more than ever before, but the driving forces behind smartphone adoption are changing. New markets for growth bring different rules to play by and 'premium' will not be a major factor in the regions driving overall market growth."

So it isn't that smartphones are becoming less popular, it's more that people are less inclined to change.

For ISVs, as the trend in recent years has been to develop applications that have a mobile interface, which can also be accessed using a personal computer, it is worthwhile sticking with this method.

As smartphones are still becoming more popular, and people become attached to a particular device, users will remain keen to access applications through these devices. The smartphone app market is one that will live for a long time yet.