GfK: Global smartphone sales hit quarterly high but revenue stagnates in Q4

GfK said global smartphone shipments increased by six per cent year-on-year to reach 368 million units in the fourth quarter of 2015, but revenue plateaued at $115 billion (€106 billion) due to an annual decline in the average selling price (ASP) of six percent in the final quarter.

In 2015 as a whole, global smartphone shipments increased by seven per cent to 1.3 billion units, while revenue increased by a slightly lower rate of five per cent to $399 billion.

Kevin Walsh, director of trends and forecasting at GfK, noted that the record fourth quarter hides a mixed picture overall, with local factors rather than regional and industry trends increasingly driving markets.

"Diverging economic trends, device saturation, mass market adoption, politics, social change and even sport have an impact on smartphone demand and prices at country level," Walsh said.

Emerging APAC remains the primary growth driver in the global smartphone market, with 21 per cent year-on-year unit growth in the fourth quarter of 2015.

China also saw smartphone growth accelerate to 12 per cent year-on-year to a record high of 106.6 million units, following a return to a moderate growth rate in the third quarter of 2015.

This indicates a return to form for the Chinese market following a series of four negative quarterly year-on-year developments that started in the third quarter of 2014. With a volume growth of 11 million units, China contributed half of the global growth in the recent quarter.

Walsh added that GfK expects local country factors rather than global trends will continue to impact the market in 2016.

"Key markets in Emerging Asia and Middle East and Africa are forecast to drive unit growth. While 2016 will be another year of global growth, it will be more important than ever for businesses to understand individual country trends and market segments," he said.

For more:
- see this GfK release

Related articles:
Ericsson sees rise in Wi-Fi calling devices after interoperability tests with MediaTek
Canalys: Global smartphone shipments will grow 10 per cent through 2016
Gartner: Apple smartphone sales recorded first year-on-year decline during Q42015
IDC: Detachables driving tablet sales in Western Europe
Ericsson: Global mobile subscriptions grew 68M in Q4 2015