Pressure Builds on Mobile Phone Makers as Average Mobile Phone Price Declines

CCS Insight Updates Global Phone Forecast

  • After four years of growth, the average selling price for a mobile phone is dropping
  • 1.94 billion mobile phones will be sold in 2014
  • Smartphone shipments in Western developed markets will only grow 10% in 2014
  • Emerging markets expected to grow 33%

14 October 2014, London, UK: 1.94 billion mobile phones will be sold in 2014, up 6% from 2013. This is according to the latest Global Mobile Phone Forecast from CCS Insight. Although the value of this highly prized consumer electronics segment will reach $310 billion this year, growth is slowing as the average price of mobile phones has started to decline for the first time in four years.

The forecast, which looks at global mobile phone sales up to 2018 shows that Western developed markets are close to saturation with smartphone shipments only growing 10% in 2014. This contrasts starkly with emerging markets, where the company expects 33% growth in 2014 as the transition to smartphones continues apace.

The company expects an eye-watering 1.3 billion smartphones to be sold globally in 2014, an increase of 25% year on year; however this compares to a growth rate of 40% in the previous year. CCS Insight expects this trend to continue as year on year growth slows to 15% in 2015.

However by 2018 CCS Insight expects 1.9 billion smartphones to be sold usurping the lowly feature phone which will then account for just 17% of the total 2.3 billion unit mobile phone market.

Marina Koytcheva, Director of Forecasting at CCS Insight comments: “Over the last four years we saw sustained growth in the average selling price of mobile phones as consumers in developed markets embraced smartphones, in many cases fuelled by Apple’s ascendency. This transition is almost complete and the biggest volumes have shifted to growth markets where lower priced smartphones dominate, and driving average prices down.”

Continuing, Koytcheva says: “You only have to read the news to know that almost every traditional mobile phone maker other than Apple is under pressure. Our forecast underlines the challenges they face as competition in the mobile phone business reaches boiling point.”

The big winner in this shift to growth markets is China where CCS Insight expects over 400 million smartphones to be sold in 2014 alone. Koytcheva comments: “There has been an unprecedented transition to smartphones in China. This year we expect smartphones to account for 9 out 10 mobile phone sales.” However she cautions “the volume might be impressive but when fast growing Chinese phone makers such as Xiaomi are happy to sell their devices at little or no margin in a quest to build their brand and market share, you don’t need to look far to see why established brands such as Samsung are feeling the pinch.”

Forecast infographic

For a PDF version of this infographic, please click here.

For more details of CCS Insight’s mobile phone forecast see here

About CCS Insight

CCS Insight is a global technology analyst company focussing on the mobile, Internet and media industries. It provides comprehensive services that are tailored to meet the needs of individual clients, helping them make sense of the connected world. Follow CCS Insight on Twitter.

For further information contact:

Hugo Deacon
(020) 7861 2842

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