Increased consumer spending across regions has driven the sales of Smartphone markers for years. The growth of the market is however plateauing, considering strong penetration levels. For instance, 91% of U.S. households, own smartphones and are packed with vital features at different price points.
With around 50% of smartphone penetration, on average, across regions, the replacement cycle is lengthening, which prompts the decline of the unit sales, especially in regions such as the US, and China among others.
While companies have been increasing their revenues by launching new variant phones with increased frequency, the maturity state in a few regions might be challenging for their revenues. However, 5G handsets and foldable phones are likely to provide them with new opportunities. Consumer Technology Association (CTA) forecasts that the 5G-enabled devices are likely to reach 2.1 million units to generate USD 1.9 billion in revenue, by 2019, the year which marks the launch of the first 5G smartphones. Another technology the smartphone makers are eyeing: Foldable phones.
Component suppliers are ramping up their production to support the efforts of smartphone makers. For instance, Qualcomm, at the IFA electronics show in Berlin, reported that its partners are developing over 150 designs using its 5G processors. This means the company is expanding 5G across its product line to make 5G accessible to over 2 billion smartphone users. This way the company expects to expand 5G to cheaper smartphones.
Scope of the Report
Smartphones, with strong hardware capabilities, extensive mobile operating systems, facilitating wider software applications, internet, and multimedia functionality (music, videos, and gaming), alongside core phone functions such as voice calls and text messaging, are considered in the scope. Smartphones used for industrial purposes or otherwise known as rugged phones are not considered in the scope.
Key Market Trends
Online sales of Smartphones may be Challenged by Offline Push
The smartphone is becoming an important part of retail sales, as they are an ever-increasing part of consumers' lives. E-commerce portals like Amazon among others attract end-users with special discounts on smartphones and created an online buying culture. The online sale of smartphones has been further led by the Holiday shopping culture across regions.
However, in regions such as India, where the smartphone sales do not seem to slow down, the smartphone companies including Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo & Oppo are aggressively expanding their offline stores into the Indian smartphone market to leverage the market opportunity.
Further, the share might be lost to other categories such as fashion and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), home products among others, in regions with high smartphone penetrations. This is considering the increasing share of e-commerce and changing consumer attitudes towards online purchases.
US-China Trade-war to Impact Smartphone Companies in Asia-Pacific
Asia leads the smartphone market both in terms of production and sales as well. The region houses a significant number of smartphone makers which together hold a lion's share in the overall smartphone market. China which has been the go-to-market for any technology company has reported a decline in smartphone units. According to Xiaomi, around 19% drop in shipments was registered, which was the biggest decline among China's major handset vendors.
The smartphone market in China is going to slump further, according to Goldman Sachs, which studied that phone owners in China don't trade their phones for the latest models, within a year's purchase. Overall, the slow growth in smartphone sales may hit companies like Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Apple. However, the Indian Smartphone market which is dominated by Chinese vendors is still a booming market.
US-China trade war could impact the Chinese vendors and maybe Apple as well. US and China have been closely linked through the supply chain for electronics. As the U.S. imposed a tariff on USD 200 billion worth of goods imported from China, the impact on the supply chain may be evident. Although smartphones aren't among the consumer products that have been subject to earlier tariff rounds, the uncertainty exists as the next round could include laptops and smartphones.
The smartphone market is a rather competitive market dominated by established players such as Samsung, Huawei, Apple, Xiaomi, among others. Most of these players keep launching new models with small technology changes such as battery power, camera configuration and/processor.
Some of the recent developments in the market are:
September 2019 - Amid the slumping Samsung's flagship phone sales, the company is looking for foldable to be its next big growth engine. The company after announcing Galaxy Fold is reportedly working on a second foldable device that folds down into a compact-sized square.
September 2019 - Xiaomi, launched another 5G handset, Mi 9 5G in China. The new 5G handset features three cameras on the rear panel and a single sensor on the front and is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus SoC. The company launched its next 5G handset, just months after its first 5G handset, Mi MIX 3 5G. The first 5G smartphone from Xiaomi was launched in February at Mobile World Congress 2019.
Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
Vivo Communication Technology Co. Ltd.
Guangdong OPPO Mobile Telecommunications Corp., Ltd,