For builders positioned on the high end, or especially Apple and Samsung, this is bad news looming on the horizon. According to GFK, the skies darken on the segment of high-end smartphones (over $ 500).
On a global smartphone market that "approaching its saturation point," the high end has so far benefited fully from the growth. In 2013, sales increased by 24% according to GFK (48% over the last three years), 2.5 times more than the market over the period.
The saturation point is approaching
This growth, manufacturers must above all the emerging regions, where the rising purchasing power has favored purchases on the high end, and rapid adoption in developed markets (Asia Pacific, North America and Western Europe ).
But now, GFK estimates, "the high-end market is doomed to decline - and that in the short term." In 2015, annual growth is expected to fall to 8%. A trend that can be explained by the maturity in developed regions. Or they represented 61% of sales of high-end handsets in 2013.
But manufacturers also will have - and are already doing as evidenced by the results of Samsung - cope with the aggressive growth of entry-level models, and not only in emerging countries.
Growth is on the entry level
In France, for example, the entry-level smartphones (less than 200 €) will represent this year nearly three out of four sales (excluding operators), estimated GFK. The offensive in this segment (100 to 250 dollars) will result in saturation by 2015. For manufacturers, this means less revenue and lower margins.
Especially since the smartphone segment less than 100 dollars rose in several regions. It will be 510 million devices will be sold in this category this year, a third of the smartphone market. In emerging Asia, these cheap devices accounted for 79% of the terminals sold in 2013. In the Middle East, this share was 65%.
A "finding new customers for their products, manufacturers will be pushed to produce smartphones for less than $ 100 US to meet demand" GFK analysis. Manufacturers (Android and WP) will they be sentenced in parallel to make sacrifices on the prices of high-end smartphones?
Not necessarily. The firm notes in fact that the average price of these devices has remained relatively stable. Between 2013 and 2010, and price has declined by only 1%. It was over 700 dollars last year. The price gap between the top and the entry level will therefore continue to grow. In 2010 it was 437 dollars. It will be 559 dollars by 2016.
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Key figures: sales of mobile and smartphone