Certain markets might be approaching saturation, but overall, smartphones in general and high-end models in particular are still doing well at a global scale.
Taken for granted in fully developed countries such as the US, mobile 4G LTE connectivity is at last spreading like wildfire in emerging territories. India has just officially joined the list where the commodity is no longer a dream, and so, according to market research institute GfK, “all key countries” are now covered by the high-speed standard.
Rewind only a year ago, and you’ll find 26 percent of intelligent handhelds sold worldwide supported 4G. Meanwhile, during Q2 2015, the number hiked to 58 percent. That’s a staggering growth of 129 percent within 12 months, and we owe it chiefly to China.
Once India also enters the picture, the sky is the limit for the prevalence of LTE-capable phones, which will soon make 3G-restricted devices feel as archaic as physical QWERTY keyboards.
Both smartphone sales units and value progressed between Q2 last year and this year, from 288 to 302 million and $86 billion to $92.4B respectively. Those are 5 and 7 percent increases, which sound respectable for an industry tipped to hit overload before long.
North America should first reach its “saturation point”, with prices currently polarized as consumers tend to favor either $500+ flagships or sub-$250 low-enders. Middling gadgets are no-go for Americans, apparently, and high-enders managed to boost their slice of the pie from 38 percent between April and June 2014 to 43 over the same period in 2015.
In Western Europe, the other big market expected to linger, smartphone sales units grew 9 percent, but sales value dropped. The main cause? A sudden shift of popularity towards budget-friendly, entry-level devices.
As for China, it’s no wonder so many regional manufacturers start to pop up in global top ten charts, seeing as how smartphone value was pushed up 17 percent due to a hefty high-end demand increase of 49 percent (!!!). Still, sales volumes actually slumped 10 percent, so low-enders are on a vexing downward spiral in the Middle Kingdom after dominating the landscape since… forever.