Market Stats

IDC: Tablets Continue to Slide

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The tablet market remains on the slump, IDC reports-- global shipments (combining both regular and hybrid tablets) are down by -12.3% Y-o-Y in Q2 2016, reaching 38.7 million units.

The decline comes as vendors "begin to refocus" product lines while customers hold off purchases. Predictably, the vast majority (65%) of tablets sold is Android-powered, followed by iOS (26%), but Windows appears to be slowly taking further hold of the market as vendors hedge their bets against declining Android volumes with the Microsoft alternative. How come? It all boils down to productivity.

IDC Q2 2016 tablets

"The market has spoken as consumers and enterprises seek more productive form factors and operating systems-- it's the reason we're seeing continued growth in detachables," the analyst says. "At present, it's difficult for Android to compete with iOS or Windows detachable products. However, the next 12 to 18 months will be very interesting as Google launches the next version of Android with better multi-tasking support and as they begin to bring together their two operating systems."

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IDC: Smartphone Volumes Remain Flat in Q2

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Smartphones see a second straight quarter of essentially flat volumes on Q2 2016, IDC reports-- global shipments total 343.3 million, an increase of just 0.3% Y-o-Y. However some growth can be seen on a sequential basis, specifically 3.1% Q-o-Q.

"We continue to see a number of changing dynamics in the smartphone market and many vendors are readjusting their business strategy and portfolio to take advantage of these market movements," the analyst remarks. "Mature markets continue the transition away from pure subsidy and over to EIP programs and Apple is beginning to put more emphasis on 'Device as a Service' to try to prevent lengthening replacement cycles. This is a growing theme we have heard more about from PCs to smartphones."

IDC Q2 2016 smartphones

When it comes to vendors, outside the Samsung-Apple duopoly the market appears to be leaning towards the more affordable end of the market. Interestingly, Chinese OEMs are finding success in non-China markets despite local low-end competition, while bigger names are driving shipments with more affordable handsets. However IDC insists vendors need to continue pushing "flagship-type" devices at lower prices in order to encourage more frequent upgardes-- a strategy employed successfully by the likes of Huawei, Oppo, vivo and Xiaomi.

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Gartner: Smartphone Sales Slow in 2016

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Gartner predicts global smartphone sales will continue to slow in 2016-- growth will no longer come at total double digits, instead clocking at 7% to reach 1.5 billion units, down from 14.4% seen in 2015.

Smartphones"The smartphone market will no longer grow at the levels it has reached over the last 7 years," the analyst admits. "Smartphone sales recorded their highest growth in 2010, reaching 73%."

What lead to such sales slowdown? A smartphone penetration rate reaching 90% in the mature W. European, N. American and Japanese markets, mainly. Furthermore, customers are not replacing or upgrading smartphones as often as in previous years, extending the premium handset lifecycle to 2.5 years-- a replacement rate set to remain as such over the next 5 years.

In the meantime communication service providers (CSPs) are moving away from providing "free" smartphone every 2 years, leading to more varied upgrade programs. For example, Apple offers customers with the latest iPhone after all of 12 months. However, Gartner says most customers prefer to hold on to handsets for 2 years or longer, since "technology updates have become incremental rather than exponential."

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Gartner: Low-Cost Drives Q1 2016 Smartphone Sales

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According to Gartner Q1 2016 global smartphone sales total 349 million units-- a 3.9% Y-o-Y increase driven by low-cost smartphone demand in emerging markets and 4G smartphone promotions by many telcos around the world.

Smartphones make 78% of overall Q1 2016 mobile phone sales.

Gartner Q1 2016 smartphone sales

"In a slowing smartphone market where large vendors are experiencing growth saturation, emerging brands are disrupting existing brands' long-standing business models to increase their share," the analyst says. "With such changing smartphone market dynamics, Chinese brands are emerging as the new top global brands. Two Chinese brands ranked within the top five worldwide smartphone vendors in Q1 2015, and represented 11% of the market. In Q1 2016, there were three Chinese brands-- Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi-- and they achieved 17% of the market."

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Gartner: Smartphone Sales Growth Down to Single Digits in 2016

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Gartner reports global smartphone sales will show single-digit growth of 7% in 2016-- a first  marking an end to the era of double-digit smartphone growth according to the analyst.

Gartner forecast

Smartphone sales for 2016 are forecast to reach 1.5 billion units, while total mobile phone sales are set to reach 1.9bn. Also showing barely positive results is the combined device (PC, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) market, as global shipments are expected to grow by just 0.6% to 2.4bn units in 2016, with end-user spending declining by -1.6%.

"Historically, worsening economic conditions had negligible impact on smartphone sales and spend, but this is no longer the case," Gartner remarks. "China and N America smartphone sales are on pace to be flat in 2016, exhibiting 0.7% and 0.4% growth respectively."

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