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Are Global Smartphone Sales Slowing Down Compared With Previous Years?

Are Global Smartphone Sales Slowing Down Compared With Previous Years?

Smartphones may not be selling as well as before. Sure, the market for smartphones had a really good showing by the time the year 2014 ended, but recent developments indicate that 2015 may end up as a down year for smartphones.


There certainly have been some signs. Samsung, normally considered a reliable vendor of smartphones, recently announced that it will not be able to hit profit expectations for the second quarter of 2015, which is interesting considering that it had just released its two newest flagship devices, the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge, only in April of this year.


And it is not just Samsung that is suffering slow sales. A few days ago, Taiwanese phone maker HTC also reported losses in the most recently ended quarter. Even upstarts like Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi has stated that its unit sales for the year has been noticeably slowing down.


The recent sales performances of most of today’s phone makers (Apple may be the only exception to this) clearly suggest that it has been increasingly challenging for companies to get more people to buy smartphones and buy them more frequently. The fact of the matter is: people just do not upgrade to new smartphones that often anymore, and at least recently, they are far less impressed by what the latest smartphone models can offer, except maybe when it comes to iPhones. 


Even the Chinese market, widely considered today as the biggest mobile market in the world, and not too long ago, one of the fastest growing mobile markets, has seen its smartphone sales slowing down. 


If it is any comfort, it is not just smartphones having some sales trouble. Even the whole consumer electronics market has been showing declining numbers in global shipments. When we say consumer electronics, these include smartphones, tablets, personal computers, laptops, and just about everything. 


One must wonder -- why exactly is this happening? There is not one factor to blame, but rather a combination of many things. A possible reason is the most recently holiday season, which racked up record breaking numbers in terms of smartphone sales. In a cruel twist, the fact that loads of people bought smartphones during the holidays has lessened their willingness to buy a new one in the months after. 


Also, wireless carriers are now introducing equipment installment plans wherein mobile users pay a monthly fee for a handset in exchange for a less expensive phone plan. These schemes can discourage people from switching to new smartphones because they will not have to pay that fee when the handset is fully paid off. 


Some industry analysts also think that most of the new handsets introduced in 2015 did not offer enough new features to get customers to buy them. The new features were a little more than minor upgrades to already existing features. 


Perhaps the next most obvious question is: how long will this slump in sales last? Nobody knows for sure at this point. But anything can happen in the last six months of the year. As proven by last year’s holiday turnout, smartphone sales numbers could rebound in the last quarter of 2015. Phone makers everywhere are certainly hoping that scenario will play out.