The smartphone market is one which superficially appears to be a market which will continue to be healthy going forward. Part of the reason for its healthy outlook is the never-ending cycle of quick turn around smartphones, but largely in part due to the level of expansion that is expected to continue worldwide. As a result, over the longer time, the smartphone market has been increased significantly. That said, over the more recent times, there has been signs that the market is slowing down and the latest confirmation of this slowing has come through today.
Gartner routinely release reports and analysis on various aspects of the mobile markets and recently noted how they expect virtual reality to see significant growth this year. A sentiment which few would argue against. However, their latest report looks to identify the trends going forward for smartphone sales. In fact, the wider report focuses on devices in general including laptops and so on. However the smartphone aspect is what is worth paying closer attention to as Gartner expect smartphone sales to only grow by 7-percent throughout 2016. While this is still a growth and in the wider scale of things is good as the market is not in decline. The word only is what is important as this represents the first time that the yearly growth will come in as a single-digit percentage. According to Gartner, in 2016 smartphone sales will reach 1.5 billion units, which is what equates to the 7-percent increase when compared to the 2015 total of sales. When factoring in the non-smartphone sales, the wider mobile phone market is expected to reach 1.9 billion, which is the same figure that was reached in 2015.
One of the reasons that this single-digit increase of sales is expected to happen, is an assumption that consumers in mature markets will “hold onto phones” longer this year. The assumption being that as carrier options, plans and deals become more complex and harder to chose between and coupled with what the report suggests is only minimal technological advancements, the combination will affect the rate of which current smartphone owners update their devices this year. While in the wider worldwide market, Gartner expects that a number of feature phone owners will opt to replace their current handset with another feature phone, instead of moving to a smartphone, which will also affect the 2016 smartphone sales figures. Below you can see a breakdown of Gartner's figures for the whole device market.