Feature phones go into further decline

Feature phones go into further decline

The feature phone market has gone into further decline with a record 42% drop in sales in May, new figures from analyst firm GfK show.

According to the figures, the feature phone market has declined by over 20% year on year for the last 11 months.

Feature phones, which have ceded nearly 90% of contract sales to smartphones, are losing share in their traditional stronghold of the prepay market as the growth of prepay smartphones has reduced mobile phone share to under 80%, GfK said.

The telecoms market declined 12.7% year on year to May 2011, following the trend set over the last six months, the figures revealed. The prepay market was the key factor in the market’s declining sales, falling 21.6% year on year compared with the more modest 2.9% drop in the contract market. 

GfK said the decline of the handset market, in spite of the rise of smartphones across all market segments, ‘seemingly demonstrates the rapid demise of the traditional mobile phone’. 

The figures showed the smartphone market surged a further 50% year on year, with 35% growth in the contract market and 133% growth in the prepay market compared to May 2010.

However, despite the triple digit growth of prepay smartphones, their share of the smartphone market fell by just under 2% month on month, meaning they were just shy of accounting for 20% of May 2011’s smartphone sales.

GfK said: ‘Indicative of the demise of mobile phones is the declining prevalence of the formerly ubiquitous block 3x4 key form factor.’

It added: ‘Year on year the presence of the traditional ‘candy bar’ design has dwindled by over a third, taking just 20% of total handset sales as consumers opt for the greater functionality and flexibility offered by QWERTY and touch-screen handsets.

‘As the last bastion of the candy bar handset comes under attack by increasingly affordable touch-screen and QWERTY models, it appears the days of the feature phone are numbered.’

Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today

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