Smartphones sales up 3% in 2018; smartwatch market shows solid gains; growth predicted for VR/AR headsets.

New findings on the global telecom market released by GfK at IFA 2018 show that the smartphone remains the key personal device in the sophisticated ecosystem that is the mobile phone industry. In the first half of 2018 a total of 693.5 million smartphones were sold globally totalling €215.3bn, an increase of 3% compared with the same period in 2017. According to data collected and analysed by GfK, consumers are clearly leaning towards premium devices, resulting in an increase in the average selling price by 4%. “Product features are important enablers to deliver user experiences. The sophistication of handsets announced for this year clearly shows the effort invested to push the boundaries of smartphone capabilities to the limits. These features and applications are constantly evolving with technological innovation, component availability and price affordability,” Igor Richter, GfK telecoms expert, says. “Screen sizes and cameras with high resolution are underpinning the visual experiences enabled by multi-core processors and large internal storage. Nearly two thirds of all smartphones sold today are already full HD- or 4K video- enabled.” This is positioning the smartphone even more as the personal device for gaming, or for high- definition entertainment in music and video, he says. “With 5G devices on the horizon these experiences will become even richer for multi-player applications or sharing of content.”


The demand for smartphones has stabilised in unit terms, but the mobile phone industry is buoyed by the trend towards premium devices. While consumers may tend to be prolonging life cycles, keeping smartphones for longer, they are also willing to pay premium as long they see improved features and other benefits.

The research also shows that while the two traditional retail channels – Telecom Retailers and Consumer Electronics shops – remain the most in fluential channels for the telecom market internationally, online sales accounted for 15%of all sales in the first half of 2018. This is a slight increase of two percentage points compared with the first half of 2017. Developing countries are having a strong influence: Asia, including India and the Chinese market, accounts for nearly 41% of all smartphone purchases internationally in the first half of 2018