Gfk: Smartphones, mobile phones and wearables still the powerhouse in the $1.2 trillion technical consumer goods (TCG) market

Gfk: Smartphones, mobile phones and wearables still the powerhouse in the $1.2 trillion technical consumer goods (TCG) market

(PRESS RELEASE) NUREMBERG, 22-Feb-2019 — /EuropaWire/ — New study released today by Gfk has seen 44 percent share of smartphones, mobile phones and wearables in the $1.2 trillion technical consumer goods (TCG) market. The report is released on the occasion of the Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona. The study finds three percent decline in the global smartphone demand in 2018 (vs 2017) to 1.44 billion units, but sales remain strong at $522 billion.

The premium trend is seen as the main fuel of growth in the sales of smartphones around the world and in fact the sales have grown by 5% in 2018 to $522 billion.

The majority of the total spend on the global TCG market last year is actually for smartphones as the analysts expect this to grow further by one percent in 2019.

The data for the Q4 2018, according to the study, reveal similar trend where the number of smartphones sold around the world were 375 million, which is 7% down as compared to Q4 2017 while the sale volume stood at $144 billion.

The premium segment (price tag of $800+) of the smartphones sold globally in 2018 was around 12%, which is actually an increase from the 9% in 2017. The mid-segment (price tag $150-400) has also seen a slight increase in the 2018’s sales around the world, reaching 46% up by 2% vs. the 44% in 2017.

The average selling price (ASP) of smartphones around the world has declined 2% to an average of $384 as the lack of appealing innovation in between October to December 2018 has contributed to putting the ASP under pressure.

According to the GfK’s Consumer Life Study consumers do prefer to own fewer but higher quality items and they value experiences more than possessions. Things like memory size, larger screen size or a multiple high megapixel camera are no longer stimulating demand.

Igor Richter, GfK’s Telecommunication expert: 

“Our research shows that although the new features in smartphones have comparable performance features and computing power with laptops, these high-end specs still need to be converted into new experiences. High end gaming has been reigned by the PC industry and is currently a major growth driver there. However, there is an untapped potential for more demanding gaming on the smartphone. Despite the relatively small smartphone screens compared with PC’s, their fast chipsets, sharp displays and increased battery capacity makes these gaming smartphones ideal handsets to deliver the processing power hungry gaming experience on the go. This explains why 55 percent of smartphone users worldwide played games on their smartphone in the last 30 days.”

The demand for core wearables has grown by 16% while the sales saw a 35% increase in 2018. SIM-enabled smartwatches, the vast majority of the sales in this segment, account for 17% (up from 8% in 2017) of the sales value and are the main reason for the growth.

However, the strong demand for core wearables in Central & Eastern Europe and Emerging Asia (Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam) cannot offset the decline in China.

In general, the market in China usually consumes the majority of the global smartphone production. In addition, China is home of strong local smartphone brands that are also becoming increasingly global.

According to the data, nearly half (~40%) of the Chinese brands’ smartphone production in 2018 was sold outside of China, which is 9% increase from the 31% seen in 2016.

The decline of demand in China during Q4 2018 (19% less YoY with weight in the sales value of 7%) has a significant impact on the global figures.

Despite the fact that demand for smartphones has increased across Central & Eastern Europe (up 3% YoY) and countries in Emerging Asia (13% up YoY) the serious decline in China during Q4 2018 is hard to be compensated.

The information in this release is based on final GfK Point of Sales data for December 2018. Also GfK looks into the end-demand consumer purchases rather than manufacturer shipments. Market sizes are composed by POS tracking in 75+ markets with updates on a weekly and monthly basis. For the US, however, GfK relies on proprietary market modeling and consumer research rather than on POS to produce the market forecasts.



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