Global smartphone sales are expected to rise 7% in 2016, with growth remaining in the single digits through 2018, Gartner says. If smartphone manufacturers don’t improve security and software or consider supporting virtual reality and connected homes, chances are they will leave the market.
“The worldwide smartphone market remains complex and competitive for all mobile phone vendors, and we are not expecting the vendor landscape to get smaller,” said Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner. “In such a fluid vendor landscape, some will exit the market while newcomers, including mobile manufacturers or internet service providers from China and India, could make their debut.”
Users are no longer focused on hardware features which may, in case of Apple users, receive upgrades after only 12 months. The drop in smartphones sales is a result of users not changing their phones as often as in the past seven years, with the fastest sales growth reaching 73% in 2010, and of 90% penetration in mature markets. Unlike in the past, the differences between smartphone generations are not as sharp, so features have stopped driving sales.
IoT is likely to take over mobile phones, becoming the biggest category of connected device in the next three years, Ericsson Mobility Report writes.
“IoT is now accelerating as device costs fall and innovative applications emerge. From 2020, commercial deployment of 5G networks will provide additional capabilities that are critical for IoT, such as network slicing and the capacity to connect exponentially more devices than is possible today,” said Rima Qureshi, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Ericsson.
This category is forecasted to reach 400% growth by 2021 and “will principally be driven by regulatory requirements, for example for intelligent utility meters, and a growing demand for connected cars including the EU e-call directive to be implemented in 2018,” the report said.