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NEWS18 May 2015

Larger screen smartphones drive growth despite slowdown

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GERMANY — Global smartphone sales increased 8% year-on-year in Q1 2015, as 4G gained ground and sales of larger screen devices continued to drive growth.

However this was a slowing of sales: smartphone sales reached 310m units, with growth down from 19% year-on-year in Q4 2014 according to GfK. It said the slowdown was caused by a year-on-year decline in demand for smartphones in China and developed Asia, down -14% and -5%, respectively.

Smartphone sales in Western Europe declined on a year-on-year basis for the first time in Q1 2015, dragged down by Spain and France. As smartphone penetration nears saturation point, both countries are expected to see a slowdown in smartphone unit growth this year compared to 2014.

Kevin Walsh, director of trends and forecasting at GfK said: “The weakness in China was caused by a significant slowdown in 3G demand, which was not offset by 4G growth. We forecast China to return to growth in the second half of the year, driven by a continued 4G ramp-up. In developed Asia, the year-on-year decline was caused by tough comparisons with Q1 2014, when demand was pulled forward in Japan due to an upcoming VAT increase in April.”

In Q1 2015, 4G unit share surpassed 50% of global smartphone demand for the first time. Sales of larger screen devices ( 5” and larger) reached 166m units equated to 47% of the global smartphone market, up from 32% in Q1 2014.

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