A report from GfK has indicated that the sales of smartphones all over the world inched up to 1.3 billion a year in 2015.
This represents a boost of seven per cent compared with the corresponding figures recorded for 2014, although this unit growth was offset by a general decline in global average selling price of two per cent year-on-year. As a result of this trend, the annual increase in revenue was at a comparatively slight level of five per cent.
In the final quarter of 2015, global smartphone demand reached 368 million units, a 14 per cent increase compared to the previous quarter and six per cent growth year-on-year. The average selling price dropped by six per cent compared to the previous 12-month period, meaning that revenues appear to have plateaued at US$115 billion (AUD 153 billion).
Kevin Walsh, director of trends and forecasting at GfK, noted that 2015 was characterised by a strong performance for the industry as a whole, capped off by a record-breaking final three months. Despite these positive factors, he added that the overall results were mixed across different countries.
“Local factors, rather than regional and industry trends, are increasingly driving markets. Diverging economic trends, device saturation, mass market adoption, politics, social change and even sport have an impact on smartphone demand and prices at country level,” he commented.
Overall demand was found to be stable in the developed Asia-Pacific region, which covered Australia and New Zealand, in addition to Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Unit demand had suffered a three per cent decline in the third quarter, but this was followed by stable demand for the last stretch of the year.
Demand returned to growth of eight per cent year-on-year in South Korea for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2014, although this was helped by favourable comparisons with the weak performance of 2014. Growth for the region as a whole was offset by a six per cent annual drop in demand for Japan.
Sales for the developed Asia-Pacific region stood at 64.8 million in 2015 – and this is forecast to grow slightly to 65.5 million throughout 2016. This would represent year-on-year growth of 1.1 per cent. Sales value for 2015 was US$37.5 billion, with a decline of 0.7 per cent to US$37.2 million for the year ahead.