Global smartphone sales remain strong and reached $522 billion in 2018, however total sales declined by 3 percent to 1.44 billion units sold worldwide versus 2017, according to Gfk's findings.
The market research firm said smartphones represent the majority of the total spend on the global TCG market last year. This is expected to grow plus one percent in 2019.
While premium continues to fuel growth, dearth of appealing innovation continued
Around twelve percent (up from nine percent in 2017) of smartphones sold were priced at more than $800 in 2018. The mid-segment of $150-400 continues to be an important competitive battleground accounting for 46 percent of smartphones sold globally in 2018 (up two percent from 44 percent in 2017).
Technological convergence enabling richer experiences
GfK’s Consumer Life Study shows that consumer trends are changing when it comes to possessions. Not only do they “prefer to own fewer but higher quality items” that they will pay premium prices for, but they “value experiences more than possessions”. Whether it is memory size, larger screen size or a multiple high megapixel camera this innovation does not ignite consumers’ imagination and stimulate demand.
Igor Richter, GfK’s Telecommunication expert says: “Our research shows that although the new features in smartphones have comparable performance features and computing power with laptops, these high-end specs still need to be converted into new experiences. High end gaming has been reigned by the PC industry and is currently a major growth driver there. However, there is an untapped potential for more demanding gaming on the smartphone. Despite the relatively small smartphone screens compared with PC’s, their fast chipsets, sharp displays and increased battery capacity makes these gaming smartphones ideal handsets to deliver the processing power hungry gaming experience on the go. This explains why 55 percent of smartphone users worldwide played games on their smartphone in the last 30 days.”
Demand in Central & Eastern Europe and Emerging Asia is only partially offsetting the decline in China
The Chinese market consumes the majority of the global smartphone production, as well as being the home of local brands that are becoming increasingly global. 40 percent of the Chinese brands' smartphone production in 2018 was purchased outside of China, that is up from 31 percent in 2016.