Smartphone growth strong in saturated market


Smartphones forecast to reach 410 million units in the fourth quarter 2015

Despite heavy market saturation for smartphones, growth is continuing thanks to high device replacement rates, according to new research.

According to IC Insights, 89% of the new mobile phones sold worldwide in 2015 are forecast to be replacements or additional devices sold to existing subscribers. Moreover, this percentage is forecast to rise to 91% in 2016 and to 94% in 2019, which means that only about 6% of 2019 handset sales are expected to be to new customers.

The firm stated that in the future, it will become increasingly critical for manufacturers to convince the existing subscriber base that it should pay for and needs the newest technology, in order to keep the replacement period short.

The study also found that the vast majority of existing feature phone subscribers upgrade to a smartphone. Smartphones accounted for over 50% of total quarterly mobile phone shipments for the first time ever in the first quarter of 2013 and are forecast to reach 410 million units in the fourth quarter 2015, and represent 80% of total mobile phones shipped that quarter.

Non-smartphone mobile phone sales dropped by 24% in 2014 and are expected to drop by another 30% in 2015. Moreover, IC Insights forecasts that the 2016 non-smartphone cellphone unit shipment decline will be similar to 2015’s drop with a decline of 28%.

Meanwhile, Samsung and Apple dominated the smartphone market in 2014 and are expected to do so again in 2015. In total, these two companies shipped 504 million smartphones and held a combined 40% share of smartphone shipments in 2014, IC Insights said.

However, although these two companies are forecast to ship 560 million smartphones in 2015, their combined smartphone unit marketshare is expected to drop one percentage point to 39%.


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