4G handsets take majority market share in Q2 2015
Almost six in 10 (58%) smartphones sold in the second quarter of 2015 were 4G-enabled, according to the latest global smartphone sales data from GfK. And with a major operator launching 4G services in India at the start of this month, 4G is now available in all key countries.
GfK forecasts 4G smartphone penetration to continue to grow at the expense of 3G, which is currently at 38% of smartphone units and is forecast to decline by another percentage point by the end of this year.
In terms of sales, 302.1 million smartphones were sold during the quarter, with the Middle East and Africa region showing the biggest increase, with sales of 39.4 million units versus 31.9 million in the second quarter of 2014 (up 22%). China was the only territory to record a decline in unit sales, down 10% over the same period last year from 98.6 million to 88.7 million units.
Western Europe showed a modest increase with sales of 30.3 million units over 27.8 million, up 9% on the same period in 2014. The actual values of sales, however, declined to €10.5 billion from €11.2 billion. This was attributed to a shift in the market towards cheaper, lower end handsets.
“India is expected to be the largest contributor of absolute smartphone unit growth globally this year,” said Kevin Walsh, director of trends and forecasting at GfK. “The main reason behind this is the currently low smartphone penetration in the market together with a significant intensification of the competition amongst the smartphone vendors.”
There are significant regional differences in 4G take up: price polarisation in North America, saturation in western European markets, local brands tackling global players in India and China, and intense price competition in emerging markets.
Walsh continued: “The underlying trend of consumers optimising their digital consumption by screen size, within affordability constraints, continues in all regions. This trend can be seen from TV’s down to smartphones.
“In smartphones, it manifests in trends like… the rapid screen-size increases in emerging markets and phablet market development.”