Smartphone sales are expected to reach 1.5 billion units worldwide in 2016, which represents a seven per cent growth from 2015.
This is according to the latest data from market research and advisory firm Gartner, which specified that this is the first time sales of the devices have exhibited single-digit growth.
Given that the total mobile phone market is forecast to reach 1.9 billion units in 2016, smartphones still represent the bulk of the sector, compared to more basic feature phones.
Research director at Gartner Ranjit Atwal suggested that there may not be a return to double-digit growth in the near future.
“The double-digit growth era for the global smartphone market has come to an end,” he commented.
This is partly driven by an extension of phone lifetimes, with user's more interested in keeping an older model they are comfortable with than necessarily upgrading to a new one – and this is particularly the case in mature markets such as Australia.
Annette Zimmermann, also a research director at Gartner, said that tariffs offered by network carriers are becoming more complex.
This, combined with the fact that upgrades to the latest smartphones are becoming incremental rather than exponential, appears to indicate a shift in smartphone habits.
“The volumes of users upgrading from basic phones to premium phones will slow, with more basic phones being replaced with the same type of phone,” Ms Zimmermann remarked.