The market for tablets and smartwatches may be in a steady downward spiral, but smartphones apparently continue to remain everybody's favorite personal gadget. According to the latest report released by German market research firm, GfK, the global smartphone market grew by 7.5% YoY during the third quarter of this year. Overall sales hit 353.3 million devices worldwide during the three months from July thru September 2016, while smartphone vendors had 'only' managed to sell around 328.8 million devices during the same period last year. With the notable exception of North America where demand for new smartphones actually declined by 1%, other regions around the world grew between 1% and 15% YoY during Q3 2016. Along with China, demand for smartphones remained high in many emerging markets in Asia as well as in Central and Eastern Europe.
Demand in the U.K also saw a jump following the Bexit vote, while the South American market returned to growth after five successive quarters of decline. As mentioned already, emerging markets in Asia also contributed heavily to the overall growth, with countries like the Philippines showing a 27% spurt in demand over the same period last year. Overall, GfK says it expects the global smartphone market to grow by 7% in 2016, with demand hitting an all-time high of 1.4 million handsets. Most of the growth is expected to come from the Chinese market that's projected to grow 15% over last year.
While the smartphone market grew 7.5% in terms of volumes during Q3 2016, the news was even better in terms of overall sales. Smartphone vendors sold handsets worth as much as $103.8 billion during the period, which is an 8.7% growth over the $95.5 billion worth of devices sold during the same period in 2015. China and North America, as expected, continued to lead the pack in terms of value, with the People's Republic accounting for $31.7 billion worth of smartphones. Sales in the North American market, however, remained flat at $17.5 billion. Meanwhile, smartphone vendors may have to brace for tougher times ahead as the all-important Chinese market is expected to cool down significantly next year. In fact, GfK estimates growth in the global smartphone market to slow down to just 3% next year thanks largely to a 3% decline in China.