Feature Article

Free eNews Subscription>>
August 18, 2015

4G Smartphones Show Big Rise in Unit Market Share

Does it seem like there are a lot more 4G smartphones in stores and in the hands of users? If so, then new smartphone sales data from GfK is translating well to the real world, as the reports suggest that the sales of such devices has been on the rise for quite a while, yielding a real spike in 2015's second quarter.

The GfK data offered up some exciting points for anyone keeping an eye on the smartphone market. First, the global smartphone sales value was up 8 percent as compared to the same time last year, and unit sales were up 6 percent. Unit share for 4G systems, meanwhile, was at 58 percent worldwide in the second quarter of 2015, and given that that number was 26 percent in 2014's second quarter, a clear growth pattern was established. This growth was mainly credited to growth in the Chinese market.

What's more, there was even change in the kinds of smartphones purchased. Those smartphones with large screens—five inches or bigger—represented almost half (48 percent) of smartphones sold in the second quarter, which was up 5 percent on numbers from the first quarter. It was also up 17 percent from the second quarter of 2014, and once again, China represented the largest regional share of such devices at 63 percent, with the second largest regional share from the developed Asia-Pacific (APAC) region at 61 percent.

Helping drive this development along is the increasing ability to find 4G access; a new operator recently came online in India, and that made 4G access fully available in all key countries, reports said. The massive expansion for 4G will come at a price, meanwhile, and that price is 3G access. Smartphones with 3G access represent 38 percent of smartphone units, reports note, and that number is set to fall by the fourth quarter of 2015.

There would be quite a bit else hitting the market this year. The Western Europe markets would face device saturation, while in North America, price polarization would come into play. Emerging markets in general would face stiff competition, and the Indian and Chinese markets would be facing interesting developments as local brands were set to take on some major global players.

It's not surprising to see the mobile device market grow like this; while some markets have clearly reached the top of the heap in terms of growth, others are really just beginning. These are some of the most populous markets on Earth as well, so seeing big growth to follow is really to be expected. The question, though, is what to do after those markets reach a saturation point, which may only be a few years out. A new breed of device could step in—something in wearable technology, perhaps—or it could be connected to other devices. The rise of 5G access may help, and considering the development taking place there, we may have that technology before the 4G smartphone market starts buckling.

The key point is, something will need to happen and soon. The global smartphone market is on the rise in a big way, but it won't continue rising forever. Something needs to be ready for when the smartphone market's growth just can't swing any more. 


FOLLOW MobilityTechzone

Subscribe to MobilityTechzone eNews

MobilityTechzone eNews delivers the latest news impacting technology in the Wireless industry each week. Sign up to receive FREE breaking news today!
FREE eNewsletter