iPhone 6S China
China, which was once an area for rapid growth, is now seen as a replacement market, according to IDC. Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

The global smartphone market is rapidly slowing down. For 2015, shipments of smartphones around the world are expected to grow by only 9.8 percent for a total of 1.43 billion units, according to a forecast that market intelligence firm IDC released Thursday. It’s a huge step away from 2014, when the growth rate was 27.6 percent.

One of the big factors behind the slowdown is the Chinese smartphone market, which is expected to post growth of just 1.2 percent in 2015. It’s by far the largest market, with an estimated 525.8 million users this year, according to eMarketer. While it saw rapid growth in previous years, China has grown into what is seen as a replacement market -- joining the ranks of the U.S. and Europe -- according to IDC. In the U.S., manufacturers and carriers have turned to finding new ways to squeeze growth out of those markets, such as device installment plans.

"Vendors will look to push device financing and trade-in options across many of the developed markets as growth in these markets is expected to primarily come from replacement purchases and second devices," IDC Research Manager Anthony Scarsella, said in a press statement. Meanwhile, the Middle East and Africa region is forecasted to see growth rates of nearly 50 percent year-over-year.

Apple and Google have also taken great interest in finding ways to tap into the booming Indian smartphone market.

What isn’t expected to change is the relative market share for smartphone operating systems. Google’s Android is forecasted to close out the year with 1.16 billion units shipped for 9.9 percent growth and about 81 percent share. Apple’s is forecasted to reach 226 million units with 17.3 percent growth and nearly 16 percent market share. Despite larger pushes by Microsoft to promote its devices, the Windows Phone is only expected to end the year with 31.3 million units shipped, down 10.2 percent for 2.2 percent global share.