Demand for new smartphones appears to be waning.
With the collapse in the China market and Apple shipping 5m fewer devices, the global smartphone market fell 9% in the final quarter of 2017, the biggest fall in smartphone history.
With features on smartphones, such as cameras, now being so good, there are fewer reasons to upgrade and less to entice users to buy a newer model. Data from Strategy Analytics shows global smartphone shipments shrank year-on-year from 438.7m to 400.2m in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Both Samsung and Apple are pushing the top end of the market, with Apple charging £1000 for its popular iPhone X. Whilst this may offset some of the decline in sales, Apple’s iPhone sales, in general, were also down 1% as fewer users feel the need to upgrade.
Linda Sui, director at Strategy Analytics, said:
“It was the biggest annual fall in smartphone history. The shrinkage in global smartphone shipments was caused by a collapse in the huge China market, where demand fell 16% annually due to longer replacement rates, fewer operator subsidies and a general lack of ‘wow models’.”
The decline in iPhone sales has been growing steadily, although Apple still took the majority of the market share, at 19%, pushing Samsung into second place.
Although there were 1.5bn smartphones shipped in 2017, up 1.3%, in 2016, sales were up 3.3% and previously in 2015, the increase was 12.3%.
It seems developed nations have hit saturation point, with fewer first-time buyers. To entice users to upgrade, developers will need to look beyond the smartphone features already on offer, or perhaps consider pushing down prices in the general smartphone market, rather than focusing on their premium products.
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