Smartphone sales are approaching the saturation point globally despite every company launching a new phone every now and then, says a new report by Gartner. The report further says, that global smartphone sales will for the first time exhibit single-digit growth in 2016.
Global smartphone sales are estimated to reach 1.5 billion units in 2016, a 7 percent growth from 2015. The total mobile phone market is forecast to reach 1.9 billion units in 2016.
The double-digit growth era for the global smartphone market has come to an end,
said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.
He further added that worsening economic conditions used to have a negligible impact on smartphone sales and spend, but that is no longer the case.
China and North America smartphone sales are on pace to be flat in 2016, exhibiting a 0.7 percent and 0.4 percent growth respectively.
The only respite seems to be emerging markets, with India of course, at the top. Sales have been growing exponentially here for the past few years thereby attracting more and more phone manufacturers into the country. Sales of smartphones in India are on pace to reach 29 percent in 2016 and will continue to exhibit double-digit growth in the next two years.
However, Gartner report also predicts a slowdown in the growth in emerging markets due to the inability of vendors to reduce the price of a ‘good enough to use’ smartphone lower than $50.
Gartner predicts that, through 2019, 150 million users will delay upgrades to smartphones in emerging Asia/Pacific, until the functionality and price combination of a low-cost smartphone becomes more desirable.
Prices did not decline enough to drive upgrades from low-end feature phones to low-end smartphones,
said Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner.
On the other hand, mature markets of North America, Western Europe, Japan and mature Asia/Pacific, are expected to witness an extension of phone lifetimes among users.
Gartner report also throws a light over the rapidly declining market and demand for traditional PCs. The global PC shipment market is expected to total 284 million units in 2016, a decline of 1.5 percent year over year. Traditional PCs are on pace to decline 6.7 percent in 2016.
However, the report predicts that it is the last year of decline for PCs and the market will return to growth in 2017 owing to the emergence of new form factors with attractive features powered by integration of Windows 10 with Intel’s Skylake architecture.
In addition, the frustration with the capabilities in tablets will drive some consumers and businesses to review new form factors.
However, to draw their interest the PC manufacturers need to ensure that they meet demand with the right products at the right price.
added Mr. Atwal.
Overall, Garter report predicts the worldwide combined shipments for devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles, and mobile phones) to reach 2.4 billion units in 2016, a 0.6 percent increase from 2015.
Demand for ultramobiles (basic and utility tablets which include devices such as, iPad, iPad mini, Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5, Nexus 7 and Acer Iconia Tab 8) will continue to weaken, with a decline of 3.4 percent in 2016. Users are expected to not only extend lifetimes but also expected to fail to replace these devices at all through 2016.