Global smartphone shipments are expected to grow at a slower annual rate of 12.4 percent next year, due to the growing penetration rate of smartphones, a market research team at Taipei-based TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said yesterday.
Growth would slow down compared with this year’s forecast 25.9 percent, TrendForce said.
Global smartphone shipments are set to increase to 1.16 billion units this year and the number would expand to 1.31 billion units next year, it said.
“The longer life cycle of smartphones also slows down replacement demand and weakens growth momentum,” TrendForce analyst Avril Wu (吳雅婷) told the Taipei Times by telephone.
Chinese smartphone companies would be the main growth drivers, with shipments forecast to grow 17 percent next year, Wu said.
Wu said she previously predicted that global smartphone shipments would only increase 25 percent from last year. Strong sales of Apple Inc’s new iPhone 6 series would boost the shipment growth by 0.9 percent, she said.
Apple’s better-than-expected iPhone sales was driven by consumers’ demand for larger-screen smartphones, rather than a hardware upgrade, Wu said.
However, Android or Windows system users might be more price-oriented as there are many similar products on the market, she said, adding that the strong sales of Asustek Computer Inc’s (華碩) Zenfone smartphones was driven by its affordable price.
Asustek recently said it sold more than 1 million Zenfones in Taiwan since the product’s launch in April, and more than 1 million units per month worldwide.
Wu said HTC Corp (宏達電) promoted a series of mid-priced smartphones this year, including the Desire 816, Desire 820 dual SIM and Desire 620, which suggest the company is also striving for a share of the mid-priced market.
Wu said mid-priced smartphones with high-performance ratios might still be smartphone players’ growth driver next year, but added that these products might also bring limited profitability to the companies because of the lower gross margin compared with high-priced products.
Wu said she expects manufacturers of mid-priced smartphones to face fierce price competition in the markets, especially in China, where many players target this segment.
The analyst said she predicts the product differentiation trend for high-end smartphones to focus on hardware innovations, such as dual or multiple lenses, or 3D screen display.
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