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4G smartphones unit share has more than doubled in a year: GfK

August 18, 2015  

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Almost six in 10 (58%) smartphones sold in Q2 2015 were 4G-enabled, according to the latest global smartphone sales data from market research firm GfK. With 4G now available in all key countries, GfK forecasts 4G smartphone penetration to continue to grow at the expense of 3G, which is currently at 38% of smartphone units and is forecast to decline by another percentage point by Q4 2015.

Kevin Walsh, director of trends and forecasting at GfK, said that India is expected to be the largest contributor of absolute smartphone unit growth globally this year.

“The main reason behind this is the currently low smartphone penetration in the market together with a significant intensification of the competition amongst the smartphone vendors, which will drive ASP erosion allowing more affordable devices in the market,” he said.

There are significant regional differences in 4G take up: price polarization in North America, saturation in Western European markets, local brands tackling global players in India and China, and intense price competition in emerging markets.

Walsh said that the first half of the year has “seen macro events providing headwinds to topline demand in regions like Europe, Latin America and China. However, the underlying trend of consumers optimizing their digital consumption by screen size, within affordability constraints, continues in all regions.

“This trend can be seen from TV’s down to smartphones. In smartphones, it manifests in trends like price point polarization in the US, the rapid screen-size increases in emerging markets and phablet market development. These trends are forecast to continue to the end of year but we see new inflection points and market drivers for 2016.”

Globally the unit share of smartphones with large screens (five inches+) increased to 48% in Q2 2015, up 5% from Q1 2015, and 17% from Q2 2014.


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