The premium smartphone segment managed to jump 18-percent year-on-year by the end of 2018, despite an overall downturn in the global smartphone market. That big jump is represented mostly by Apple, who snagged around half of the world's premium smartphone market share. The remaining half, being the Android sphere, was fronted by Samsung, with a standout showing from Huawei and a number of Chinese OEMs.
Inside the Android side of the growth formation, Huawei saw heightened sales performance in its Mate 20 and P20 series phones, allowing it to achieve 97-percent year-on-year growth and take up 10-percent of the segment. OnePlus, meanwhile, took India by storm and caused the country's premium smartphone market to reach record highs. Those are just a couple of highlights from the interesting picture the premium scene painted over the last year.
One of the most interesting things to note is that there were enough smartphones debuting at base prices above $800 in the last year to make its own category. The Android world only nabbed 20-percent of that particular pie, however, with Samsung's Galaxy Note8 and Galaxy Note9 playing a significant part.
In the "affordable premium" segment, sitting between $400 and $600, OnePlus won out overall. That's a significant win, profit margins of the larger segments aside, due to its sheer size. The $400 and up premium segment of the smartphone market was the largest overall, with the $400 to $600 area being the largest part.
The budget section of the market, representing devices that started at $200 and below, experienced the largest overall loss, and contributed to an overall 3-percent decline for the overall global smartphone market. It plunged around 10-percent, dragging the overall smartphone market down by virtue of its size. The next segment up, cheap smartphones running between $200 and $400 like the Moto X4, managed to see 1-percent global growth year-on-year.
What's being shown here reflects Counterpoint Research's consumer lens report. This report essentially concludes that people are keeping their phones longer these days, and they're willing to spend larger sums for a device that they consider future-proof and well-made.
Given the status of modern smartphones, that makes a lot of sense. Today's smartphone is extremely powerful, matching up to and in some cases surpassing lower-end laptops. For many people, a smartphone may be the only computing device they end up needing. This is especially true in markets that are still developing a connected infrastructure.
This all adds up to a smartphone being a device that consumers use for just about everything. For many, if a smartphone still works nicely when a newer model comes out, there's no real reason to upgrade. Even when smartphones break, more consumers seem to now prefer the option of repairing over replacing.
This is a trend that's expected to continue, especially if super-premium devices keep popping up on the landscape and driving up the average device price. It makes sense that nobody is going to want to replace a device that cost near or over $1,000 after only a year or two of use.