Global smartphone demand totalled 347 million units in 2Q17 according to GfK, up 4% year-on-year. This makes it the strongest second quarter on record. Emerging Asia led the demand growth with a 13% year-on-year increase, followed by Central and Eastern Europe at 11%, and Latin America at 10%. Market value grew 9% year-on-year, due to rising average sales price (ASP).
Arndt Polifke, global director of telecom research at GfK, comments, “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 stablises 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 nine% 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 two% year-on-year.
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.
Meanwhile, 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.