Market analyst Futuresource Consulting reports that the worldwide smartphone market is slowing down, and manufacturers are struggling to maintain growth.
The report, on Futuresource’s blog, says that 2017 will see the point at which over half of the world’s population owns a smartphone, far surpassing the peak of feature phone penetration. However, the exceptional growth witnessed at the beginning of the decade, breaking the 1 billion yearly shipments milestone, has slowed as developed markets have matured.
2016 saw an increase in shipments to 1.6bn units, a 9.2% change from 2015, and while healthy shipment growth is expected over the next four years, at 5.4% 2016-2020, economic issues in key developing markets have lowered expectations of worldwide sales. Furthermore, the tail-end of the smartphone rush is in sight. Shipments have begun to plateau, and while total market trade value has reached a high of $317bn in 2016, total revenues are expected to dwindle over the next three years.
Futuresource now predicts that vendors will seek ways to grow market share in emerging nations, a challenge since the average spend per handset there is lower compared to established markets such as the UK or USA. This may result in adaptation in product offering, such as increased emphasis on headphones and smart home products, as well as more emphasis on handset recycling, refurbishment and resale schemes to quicken handset replacement.
The blog's author James Manning Smith concludes ‘It is hoped that these measures will further drive sales, in a period of expected change in the smartphone industry.’