A fresh forecast of smartphone shipments predicts BlackBerry will be just a blip on the global market's radar within the next five years.

A quarterly report released Wednesday by the International Data Corp., a global provider of market intelligence, says BlackBerry is on track to ship 9.7 million units this year – a drop of 50 per cent over last year.

The IDC doesn't expect the handset business to bounce back for the Waterloo, Ont.-based company any time soon. 

By 2018, BlackBerry's global market share will likely have fallen from 0.8 per cent to 0.3 per cent, according to the forecast. 

"The question of whether BlackBerry can survive continues to surface," states the report. "The only way the company will be viable is likely through a niche approach based on its security assets."

Blackberry vies to regain user base

Earlier this month, Blackberry unveiled a new low-cost touchscreen smartphone called the Z3 specifically for Indonesia — the first phone launched since John Chen took over as chief executive late last year.

Just two years ago BlackBerry had a 40 per cent share of Southeast Asia's largest economy. But that has plummeted to just four per cent following the company's disappointing rollout of BB10 phones.

In a March interview with Amanda Lang, host of CBC News Network's The Lang & O’Leary Exchange, Chen said he wanted to ensure users the company is here to stay.

“I don’t want anybody to think that BlackBerry is walking away from the mass market. But in order to repair the company, especially on the financial side of the equation, I need to focus on the enterprise customer first.”

Apple, Samsung continue to dominate

Excluding the BlackBerry forecast, IDC anticipates a double-digit jump in global demand for smartphones by 2018, with shipments to more than double in the key emerging markets of Indonesia, India and Russia. 

Samsung is slated to maintain its overwhelming lead with 78 per cent market share in 2018, while Apple will sit in a distant but comfortable second with 14 per cent share.