GfK (Society for Consumer Research) is Germany's largest market research institute, for that of you who did not know that. This company tends to provide interesting market insight every now and then, and they've released smartphone sales info for the first quarter of this year earlier today. Now, do keep in mind that the numbers provided in this article are based on POS figures.
First and foremost, GfK wanted to say that China definitely helped spur global growth with a 19% increase, while low-end devices are still selling extremely well. As far as more developed, western markets go, well, they're reaching the point of saturation it seems. Now, let's talk about actual sales numbers, shall we. During the first quarter of 2016, most devices were shipped in China, 109.2 million units, to be exact. Chinese smartphone market is followed by North America (45.4 million) and the Middle East & Africa (42 million). Smartphone companies have sold 30 million units in Western Europe in Q1 2016, while they've shipped 24.8 million in Latin America, and 17.1 million in Central and Eastern Europe. 50 million units were shipped in the emerging APAC area, and 18.7 million in developed APAC. Smartphone sales grew (compared to the same period last year) in China (19%), emerging APAC (5%), Middle East & Africa (5%), North America (5%) and Central & Eastern Europe (1%). Latin America has seen the biggest drop in smartphone sales according to GfK, 11% fewer smartphones were sold in that area compared to Q1 2015. Smartphone sales also fell in Western Europe (6%) and developed APAC regions (4%).
GfK has also released their sales forecast for 2016 as a whole, they expect 411.5 million devices to be shipped in China by the end of the year, while North America and Middle East & Africa are expected to follow with 197.4 million and 182.7 million, respectively. Interesting enough, GfK seems to think emerging APAC countries (India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam) as a whole will see the highest sales growth before the end of the year (14%), which trumps expectations for Middle East & Africa (12%) and China (7%). In case you need more information, check out the images down below which contain all the number we've talked about and more.