Double-digit growth in Indian smartphone market to continue: Gartner

Mumbai, April 1 (IANS) While the global smartphone market is set to see a decline this year, India, buoyed by aggressive smartphone launches and a huge consumer base, is likely to witness double-digit growth in 2016 as well as in the next two years, says a new report.

According to information technology research and advisory company Gartner, sales of smartphones in India will reach 29 percent in 2016 and will continue to exhibit double-digit growth in the next two years while the sales in China and North America will be flat.

Gartner said global smartphone sales will, for the first time, exhibit single-digit growth in 2016 with global smartphone sales estimated to reach 1.5 billion units in 2016 — a seven percent growth from 2015.

Worldwide combined shipments for devices (personal computers, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) are expected to reach 2.4 billion units in 2016, a 0.6 percent increase from 2015 while the total mobile phone market is forecast to reach 1.9 billion units in 2016.

“The double-digit growth era for the global smartphone market has come to an end,” Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said in a statement.

“Historically, worsening economic conditions had negligible impact on smartphone sales and spend, but this is no longer the case. China and North America smartphone sales are on pace to be flat in 2016, exhibiting a 0.7 percent and 0.4 percent growth respectively,” Atwal added.

Gartner predicts that, through 2019, 150 million users will delay upgrades to smartphones in emerging Asia/Pacific, until the functionality and price combination of a low-cost smartphone becomes more desirable.

“Prices did not decline enough to drive upgrades from low-end feature phones to low-end smartphones,” said Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner. “Vendors were not able to reduce the price of a ‘good enough to use’ smartphone lower than $50.”

Although there will not be any significant increase in mobile growth in mature markets of North America, Western Europe, Japan and mature Asia/Pacific, Gartner analysts expect to see an extension of phone lifetimes among users.

“As carriers’ deals become more complex, users are likely to hold onto phones, especially as the technology updates become incremental rather than exponential,” Zimmermann added.

She noted that the volumes of users upgrading from basic phones to premium phones would slow with more basic phones being replaced with the same type of phone.

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