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Global smartphone sales set to top 1.3bn this year, according to Gfk

James Pearce
November 25, 2015

Strong growth in China and other emerging markets led to highest Q3 smartphone sales on record & second highest quarter ever

Gfk expects smartphone sales to top 1.3 billion this year following the highest third quarter sales in history.

323 million smartphones were shipped globally in the three months ending September 30, up 7.4 per cent on Q314. GFK said this is the second highest quarterly sales ever reported.

unnamedIt attributed the growth in sales to three key markets; China, which returned to growth with 98 million units shipped (up 5.8 per cent YOY), Middle East and Africa (MEA) and the Asia-Pacific region (APAC).

The value of sales grew 5.9 per cent from $90 billion in Q3 2014 to $95.3 billion in the last quarter, despite the average selling price for smartphones falling two per cent.

Gfk director of trends and forecasting Kevin Walsh said: “A mix-shift towards low-end smartphones, especially in the struggling economies of Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe, has combined with a depreciating US dollar to offset an ASP increase in China – resulting in ASP remaining flat year-on-year in the third quarter.”

In Western Europe, smartphone shipments grew by 3.1 per cent to 33 million. But sales value in the region fell by 8.8 per cent to $12.4 billion. Shipments in the UK declined slightly by one per cent.

Overall, Gfk said it expects to smartphone sales to be worth $400 billion by the end of the year, up 5.2 per cent from $380 billion in 2014. This will be generated from a 6.6 per cent rise in the number of handsets shipped to 1.3 billion.

Walsh added” “GfK forecasts global smartphone demand to grow by +13 percent in Q4 this year, bringing total 2015 demand to 1.3 billion units. At seven percent year-on-year growth this represents a slowdown from the growth of 23 percent seen in 2014.

“Next year we forecast growth to improve marginally to eight percent year-on-year, buoyed by China and Central Europe, but emerging APAC and MEA will remain the main powerhouses of smartphone unit demand. These markets will continue to benefit from the double-whammy of low smartphone penetration rates and more lower-priced devices entering the market.”

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