Global Smartphone Demand Peaks – ASPs Rise

GfK has put out data on regional sales of smartphones and said that sales were 347 million in Q2 2017, up 4% year on year, with Emerging Asia growing 13%, Central and Eastern Europe up 11% and Latin America at 10%.

GfK Global smartphones

Arndt Polifke, global director of telecom research at GfK, said, “The record demand for smartphones in the second quarter this year shows that, despite saturation in some markets, the desire to own a smartphone is a worldwide phenomenon. How that manifests itself differs widely by region. Manufacturers are maximizing all their creativity to ensure their latest devices are irresistible – and to increase ASP as a result. Elsewhere, macroeconomic factors and consumer confidence are having an impact, but operators and retailers are employing localized tactics to ensure the smartphone remains the connected device of choice.”

Yotaro Noguchi, product lead in GfK’s trends and forecasting division, adds, “Consumers are willing to pay more for their smartphone as they seek a better user experience. Despite the market reaching high penetration levels, GfK forecasts smartphone demand will continue to see year-on-year growth even in 2018, as innovation from smartphone vendors keeps replacement cycles from lengthening.”

Western Europe : Demand drops for a third consecutive quarter

Smartphone demand totaled 28.7 million units in 2Q17, down 3% year-on-year. This is the third consecutive quarter of decline, caused by saturation in the largest markets, Germany, Great Britain and France. In these markets year-on-year demand fell -4%, -5% and -7% respectively. However, GfK expects major device launches in 4Q to help moderate full-year declines to -0.4%.

Central and Eastern Europe : Growing, and with a positive outlook

The region continues its recovery, with smartphone demand reaching 18.7 million units in 2Q17, up 11% year-on-year. As the political situation stablizes and consumer confidence recovers in Russia and the Ukraine, both markets have posted impressive year-on-year growth. In Russia , demand was up 11% year-on-year in 2Q17, and in the Ukraine it was up 22%. GfK raised its forecast for smartphone demand in the region slightly to 85.2 million in 2017, a rise of 9% year-on-year.

North America – A welcome return to growth

Here, the market grew 6% year-on-year to 47.4 million units in 2Q, following falls in demand in the recent quarter. GfK forecasts smartphone demand in the region to total 203 million units in 2017, a rise of 2% year-on-year.

GfK Global smartphones chartThere are significant differences in growth said GfK

Latin America: Demand grows despite economic uncertainty

Smartphone demand in the region rose 10% year-on-year to 27 million units in 2Q17. This recovery is driven mainly by pent-up demand for smartphones in Brazil. Despite the uncertain political and economic environment, demand for smartphones in the country increased 15% year-on-year in the second quarter. GfK maintains its optimistic outlook for Latin America in 2017, forecasting smartphone demand to increase by approximately 7% year-on-year.

Middle East and Africa: Macroeconomic weakness weighs on growth

Smartphone demand totaled 42.2 million units, up just 1% year-on-year. The slowdown in growth is largely due to macroeconomic weakness in the region and device saturation in the Middle East . Egypt in particular is experiencing very high inflation. Demand here declined 4% year-on-year in 2Q, while GfK forecasts a fall of 10% in 2017. However, this is a large and diverse region and GfK forecasts its overall smartphone demand to grow 5% year-on-year in 2017. Growth will come primarily from those Sub-Saharan and South African countries where smartphone penetration is still relatively low.

GfK Global smartphones value

China: The market plateaus

In China , smartphone demand plateaued in 2Q17 at 110.1 million units, showing no change year-on-year. This moderation of growth in demand for smartphones was caused primarily by saturation in the market. However, as we’re seeing in other regions, higher-priced new products are pushing up market value. GfK forecasts smartphone demand in China to total 461 million units in 2017, an increase of 2% year-on-year. The growth in value terms (USD) is expected to be considerably higher, at 11% year-on-year.

Developed Asia: South Korea drags down the region

Overall smartphone demand totaled 16.1 million units in 2Q17, down three% year-on-year. Declining demand in South Korea, which saw impressive growth last year, offset the increased demand in both Japan (up 12% year-on-year) and Australia (up 9% year-on-year). GfK expects the region to experience a slight improvement in demand in the second half of 2017, finishing the full year down one percent. That will equate to 73.1 million units.

Emerging Asia: Anticipating the strongest regional growth in 2017

Smartphone demand in the region totaled 56.7 million units, up 13% year-on-year. Bangladesh and Malaysia powered most of this growth. In Bangladesh , smartphone demand grew by a strong 40% year-on-year. Malaysia is maintaining a steady recovery from its 2015 slump, and here demand in 2Q17 grew by 31% year-on-year. Smartphone demand in India also remained resilient in 2Q17, having leveled out slightly to 14% year-on-year. GfK expects the recently announced Goods and Services Tax (GST) will have no impact on smartphone demand in the country. GfK forecasts overall smartphone demand in the region will total 234 million units in 2017, an increase of 11% year-on-year. This represents the strongest growth across all regions for the year.