The global domination of the smartphone continued apace in 2014, with the year culminating in Q4 sales of $115bn.
Overall, the latest data, which comes courtesy of GfK, suggests the number of units sold globally increased to almost 346m, up 19% on Q4 2013.
In Q4 2014, all regions saw year-on-year growth in smartphones, both in terms of units and value. The one exception was Developed APAC, where subsidy changes in Korea negatively affected these already very mature markets. The Latin America smartphone market enjoyed the highest growth with 36m units sold in Q4 2014, a 43% year-on-year increase. This region also saw the value of units sold increase by 37% year-on-year to around $10bn.
China will remain the biggest market in terms of both unit and value sales for the foreseeable future. However, growth slowed dramatically in the second half of 2014. During the fourth quarter smartphone unit sales were flat year-on-year, although the value of units sold increased by 21% year-on-year to $28bn, the highest ever quarterly figure.
“The increase in the value of units sold in China, despite the recent plateauing of unit sales, is due to consumers’ rapid adoption of higher priced smartphones with larger screen sizes,” comments Kevin Walsh, Director of Trends and Forecasting at GfK. “This is a trend seen in most markets and GfK global data shows that the 5 to 5.6 inch segment grew by more than 130% year-on-year in the last quarter of 2014 and by nearly 150% in the full year. In 2015, we forecast this segment to become the dominant screen size band, surpassing 4 to 4.5 inch for the first time.”