Projected Smartphone Sales Growth For 2016 Only At 0.6 Percent
Market research firm IDC has published its latest projections for 2016, and it appears that this year will end having accumulated smartphone shipments of around 1.45 billion units around the world. However, this volume only represents a 0.6 percent improvement over last year’s numbers, indicating a massive decrease from the 10.4 percent growth rate the global smartphone industry registered between 2014 and 2015.
Global smartphone sales may have already started to flatline, but there is some silver lining. IDC projects that sales of 4G handsets, most notably in emerging mobile markets across the globe, will grow 21.3 percent year over year for 2016. This significant growth will be driven mainly by sales in developing markets located in Asian, Latin American, Central and Eastern European, and the Middle East regions. Last year, sales of 4G smartphones only made up around 61 percent of the total sales in these markets, but this year, the share should grown to an impressive 77 percent.
As for mature mobile markets like the United States, China Western Europe, things are not so rosy this year. Mature markets already experienced slowing growth a year ago, and it is getting worse in 2016. Mobile giants such as Samsung and Apple used to be untouchable, but recently, they both have posted decreases in sales. Despite remaining the biggest seller of smartphone devices in the world, Samsung suffered a 14 percent decline, exacerbated by the failure of one of its flagship devices, the Galaxy Note 7. As for Apple, it reported a 6.6 percent decline in sales, despite launching new iPhone models, the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. Moreover, Apple is apparently still reeling from iPhone fatigue, which when you come to think of it, is actually afflicting the whole industry.
In other words, it is more like smartphone fatigue now. The fact of the matter is: most mobile users in mature markets no longer see any big reason to go buy a new smartphone every time. They are now thinking that most new models do not offer anything new anyway, so they might as well stick to their existing devices. Furthermore, smartphone fatigue is aided by the recent trend of mobile operators choosing to veer away from subsidized wireless plans, which has caused more consumers to purchase handsets at the full retail price. The problem is that high spec models tend to have steeper retail prices, which has discouraged buyers from upgrading their smartphones, opting instead to keep using their old one (which most likely still works fine anyway).