Smartphones in slow growth despite big market share

High-end features leads to rich experiences for users. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Global market share for smartphones has seen the slow growth over the past year despite having the largest share in the IT, TV and Audio segment.

In data from global research firm GfK, smartphones had a 65 percent revenue market share but only saw a two percent growth compared to headphones and Bluetooth speakers which has a two percent and one percent market share respectively and growth spike of 37 percent and 14 percent respectively.

“The growth in turnover by headphones is largely due to higher average prices by about 20 percent driven mainly by true wireless (headphones), active voice cancelling or both for the tech savvy,” said Markus Kick, Global Strategy Insights Manager, GFK, during the IFA global press conference 2019.

The growth in alternative segments comes in as the smartphone market has been on a slowdown. Strategy Analytics indicated that the global smartphone market slumped by 4 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter, although there are signs of stabilisation leading to an improved outlook for the rest of the year.

Asia and Europe accounted for two thirds of the turnover in IT, TV and Audio globally, with Middle East and Africa taking up just less than seven percent of the global turnover. This was 50 billion euros (Sh5.7 trillion) out of the total 749 billion euros (Sh85.1 trillion) turnover.


In November 2018, preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors shipped a total of 355.2 million units during the third quarter of 2018 (3Q18), resulting in a year-over-year decline of 6 percent.

The Chinese mobile makers are finding footing on the global smartphone stage, exporting 40 percent of the smartphones they produce, this is compared to 31 percent in 2016. In Kenya for instance, a decade ago, the market was dominated by Nokia, Blackberry, Samsung and LG, but is now largely served by Huawei, Tecno, Infinix, and Oppo who all hail from China. Samsung is the only other brand to maintain a grip on the market amid the increased completion from new players.


This means increased competition not just for innovative, function and top line devices, but also affordability, as new entrants undercut established players on a price point.

Smartphones, computing and TV have seen growth of two percent, one percent and two percent respectively in global revenues, showing the shift in consumer interests from the more “traditional” tech segments.

Emerging areas such as headphones, Bluetooth speakers and loudspeakers and soundbars have seen growth in revenue, with the first two seeing double digit percentage growth.

This has been attributed to the increased innovation in the segment, inclusion of new features and capabilities which drives up the cost.

“High-end features leads to rich experiences for users,” said Mr Kick. This mean that performance features have become core in the decision making when it comes to purchasing these devices.

According to research by GfK, this falls under the five key themes of the smartphone which are; performance, simplification, premium, borderless shopping and developing economies.

“Performance is hindered by teething problems. This creates opportunity to enhance it through AI and machine learning,” says the GfK data.

When purchasing personal computers, key features that consumers pay attention to include the CPU performance and full HD screen.