Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s market share is expected to peak this year with 22 percent of the world’s smartphone market, according to ABI Research. This latest figure comes about a month after another research firm discovered that Apple holds 53 percent of the U.S. smartphone market.


The most recent Mobile Handset Markets report from ABI Research predicts that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s share of the global smartphone market will hit 22 percent this year, and then remain flat through 2018. The research firm predicts that Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) will continue dominating the global smartphone market.

ABI senior research analyst, Michael Morgan, said in a statement, “Barring an unlikely collapse in Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930)’s business, even Apple will be chasing Samsung’s technology, software and device leadership in 2013 through the foreseeable future.”

So what does this flat smartphone market share expectation mean for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)? One of the greatest concerns for Apple’s investors right now is if demand for the iPhone 5 is slowing. Several indicators seem to point at slowing demand, although analysts at Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS) say they believe Apple bears are focusing too much on the company’s typically conservative expectations and pairing them with signs that iPhone demand is slowing.

They see three possible catalysts for Apple’s growth in the global smartphone market: a low-cost iPhone aimed at emerging markets, a partnership with China Mobile; China’s largest mobile carrier, and a new version of the iPhone. Goldman Sachs analysts say Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) continues to be their “top pick in the sector.” They are reiterating their Buy rating and $760 per share price target.

Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) are trading mostly flat around $505 per share today.