Smartphone shipments have reached the lowest quarterly growth rate of all time, market research has shown.
The findings by Strategy Analytics showed that from Q4 2014 to Q4 2015, smartphone shipments increased by just 6%. One of reasons behind this slow growth, according to director Linda Sui, is increased penetration maturity in key markets.
She said: ‘Global smartphone shipments grew just 6 percent annually from 380.1 million units in Q4 2014 to 404.5 million in Q4 2015.
‘This quarter was the smartphone industry’s slowest growth rate of all time. Smartphone growth is slowing due to increasing penetration maturity in major markets like China and consumer worries about the future of the world economy.’
The change in the market is being felt across the manufacturing space, with both Samsung and Apple announcing a dip in sales. The latter has predicted that iPhone units will fall for the first time.
Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, believes that Apple’s growth is peaking: ‘Apple shipped 74.8m smartphones worldwide and captured 18 percent market share in Q4 2015, barely changed from a year earlier when it delivered 74.5m units in Q4 2014,’ he said.
‘Apple’s iPhone growth is peaking. Apple will have to expand into new markets like India or Nigeria if it wants to reignite iPhone growth in 2016.’
Mawston continued to say that for Samsung, the forecast looked slightly better, announcing that the period from Q4 2014 to Q4 2015 saw the Korean manufacturer score its ‘fastest growth rate in almost two years’.
Despite this Samsung has announced that it expects smartphone demand to ‘soften’ in 2016, attributing this to challenging market conditions and greater competition.