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Key trends in the global smartphone market: Part 2

by Kevin Walsh , 16.07.2015

1.2 billion smartphones were sold globally in 2014, and in the first quarter of 2015, smartphone unit demand was up +7% on the same period of last year. So what is driving this continuing success story? We’ve identified four key trends influencing the global smartphone market.

Here are some more trends we've seen:

1. Cheaper handsets

In the first quarter of 2015, low-end smartphones – those priced below $250 – saw their share increase to 56%, up from 52% in Q4 2014, at the expense of high-end models ($500+), while the market share of mid-range devices ($250-$500) remained stable.

Within the low-end – devices priced $150 and below – smartphones are expected to gain further share in 2015, helped by continued price erosion in emerging markets.

2. The fast growth of emerging markets

The rapid growth of the smartphone market has been shown to slow at country level when saturation point is approached. For this reason, Spain and France are expected to see a slowdown in smartphone unit growth in 2015 compared to 2014.
As such, emerging markets are key to global growth. The fastest growing regions in 2015 – forecast to grow by +29% and +33% respectively – are the Middle East and Africa (MEA) and Emerging APAC. Both regions still have significant room for growth as consumers migrate from feature phones to smartphones and existing smartphone users trade up to a device with a bigger screen. Focusing on Emerging APAC, the Indian and Indonesian markets are expected to drive growth, where low smartphone penetration leaves good room for growth.

The Latin America smartphone market enjoyed the highest growth of all regions in 2014, both in terms of units and value, driven by smartphone price erosion, 4G promotions and a boost from World Cup.

All set for record growth in 2015
While the growth of the global smartphone market continues to be driven by these four key trends, in some local markets growth is not so strong. For example, in Central Europe where the macroeconomic situation in Russia has had a negative impact on sales, both units and value are forecast to decline.

However, globally, the news remains positive for smartphone manufacturers and retailers. In the first quarter of 2015, global smartphone sales set a new record – 96 billion US dollars.

For more key trends in the global smartphone market please click here.


Source: GfK Trends and Forecasting

This data was initially made public in our quarterly smartphone sales and forecasts press release: Q4 2014 press release and Q1 2015 press release.

For more information on our device forecasts, contact Kevin Walsh at kevin.walsh@gfk.com.