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Worldwide smartphone sales to slow in 2016

James Pearce
June 7, 2016

Market set to grow by 7pc to 1.5bn units, according to Gartner, significantly slower than 2010’s record growth of 73pc

The global smartphone market is set to grow by just seven per cent this year, with Gartner predicting 1.5 billion units will be sold.

2015 saw growth of 14.4 per cent, whilst the highest recorded growth was in 2010 when shipments increased by 73 per cent year-on-year.

“The smartphone market will no longer grow at the levels it has reached over the last seven years,” said Gartner research director Roberta Cozza.

This, she explained, is in part due to markets including North America, Western Europe, Japan and Mature Asia/Pacific, reaching 90 per cent saturation, slowing growth.

In these markets, Communication Service Providers have began to move away from subsidies providing a “free” smartphone every two years. Life cycles of devices has also increased from an average two years to 2.5.

In emerging markets, the average lifetime of a smartphone is between 2.2 years and 2.5 years according to Cozza. She added: “2015 was the year when sales of smartphones overtook those of feature phones for the first time in Sub-Saharan Africa. This region represents an attractive market for vendors that can persuade users to migrate to their first smartphone.”

China and India

Gartner predicts the most substantial growth will come from India and China.

China saw smartphone growth of 16 per cent in 2014, but flattened out last year, while India is predicted to see sales of 139 million this year, up 29.5 per cent.

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