Analyst forecasts that growth in the smartphone segment will slow in 2016 to reach unit sales of 1.5 billion
Total mobile phone shipments are on course to decline 1.6 per cent to 1.887 billion units this year, according to new research from analyst firm Gartner.
It claims the smartphone segment will continue to grow, albeit more slowly than in previous years, and is expected to reach 1.5 billion units in 2016.
This corresponds with a report from CCS Insight claiming the global mobile phone market has peaked at two billion units per year after decades of growth.
Gartner research director Roberta Cozza said: “This is no surprise; the smartphone market is maturing, and reaching global saturation with phones that are increasingly capable and remain good enough for longer.”
Despite this slowdown, the Android market will be strengthened due to Chinese manufacturers offering more affordable premium devices. Premium smartphone growth is expected to decline by 1.1 per cent in 2016 even with the release of the iPhone 7. However Gartner expects the smartphone market to return to higher growth in 2017.
Cozza added: “We expect the market for premium smartphones to return to 3.5 per cent growth in 2017, as stronger replacement cycles kick in and in anticipation of a new iPhone next year, which is expected to offer a new design and new features that are attractive enough to convince more replacement buyers.”
Shipments for PCs, tablets, laptop-tablet hybrids and mobile phones as a whole will see decline by three per cent in 2016. This will mark a second year of decline. In comparison, 2015 saw a 0.75 per cent drop in the global devices market.
Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal said: “The global devices market is not on pace to return to single-digit growth soon, growth is on pace to remain flat during the next five years. All segments are expected to decline in 2016, except for premium ultramobiles and utility mobile phones (entry level phones), which are expected to show single-digit growth this year.”