1 million less smartphones were sold in 2015, with the market "maturing" and the higher cost of premium models pinpointed as the reason. The Telsyte Australian Smartphone and Wearable Devices Market Study 2016 found 7.9 million smartphones were sold in 2015 compared with 8.9 million in 2014 -- that's an 11 per cent decline.
The future is looking up though, with a forecast 8.4 million units to be sold due to an anticipated major iPhone refresh, a stronger line up of Android-based handsets and new smart accessories that complement latest smartphones such as Virtual Reality headsets.
In the second half of 2015, Android lead the market by units sold with 49 per cent share, followed by iOS with 46 per cent and other platforms at 5 per cent. In the second half of 2015, the leading brands were Apple and Samsung, with Huawei also having a strong showing with its Nexus 6P offering.
Signs that the market is nearing saturation emerged in 2015 as only 860,000 new smartphone users were added, down from 1.87 million in 2014. A similar number of new users in 2016 are expected with the figure nearing the natural net population growth by 2020 (approximately 400,000 to 500,000 people per year). According to the study, there were 17.6 million Australian smartphone users at the end of 2015.
However, an estimated 3.5 million Australians are still using regular mobile phones and have yet to upgrade to a smartphone. It is expected the smartphone market will receive a boost as Telstra and Optus decommission their 2G networks in 2016 and 2017, requiring those on older handsets to finally upgrade.
The research shows around half of iPhone users have yet to upgrade to the larger form factor iPhone 6 (or later) models, despite the iPhone retaining a greater than 80 per cent repeat purchase intention amongst its users. A more affordable and possibly smaller form factor model is expected to be announced in early 2016, which fill this gap nicely.