A new survey from mobile phone giant Ericsson reveals smartphone sales are on the rise again.
Ericsson’s new G4S Smartphone Survey, conducted earlier this month by market research firm TNS, found that the smartphone smartphone market rose 12 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 to reach 11.8M units sold.
The survey suggests that, in the United States, smartphones accounted for just half of the smartphone market (49.2%) in the fourth quarter of 2014, up from 47.9 percent in Q3 2012. The remaining half was comprised of tablets.
“Although overall sales of smartphones dropped, the growth rate was not uniform,” said TNS CEO Jim Cramer. “In particular, smartphones continued to be the fastest growing segment in the smartphone market, making up an increasing share of the market.”
Cramer added that while the U.S. may remain the most lucrative market for smartphone owners, sales growth is expected to decrease over the longer term in other nations with lower-priced smartphones, which accounted for 60.8% of the total market. Cramer, however, said that as the smartphone market grows internationally, so will demand for its high-end offerings.
Cramer was pleased that the survey indicated that smartphone penetration rates did not differ by region, finding that penetration rates in the U.S. were 82% in the first quarter of 2014 compared to 77% in the fourth quarter of 2013. However, according to Ericsson, penetration rates were lower in Latin America (55% in the fourth quarter of 2013) and Asia (58% in the fourth quarter of 2013).
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Cramer also said that if the trend continued, Ericsson predicts that smartphones “will account for over 40% of worldwide mobile phone sales in the coming years.” While smartphones accounted for nearly three-quarters of the iPhone’s smartphone sales in 2013, Ericsson’s report showed that while sales declined, consumers are switching to larger, 4-inch touch screen smartphones.
Ericsson’s report found that the trend is expected to continue, despite the continued decline in revenue of smartphones and tablets, which accounted for just 1.7% of the total market in Q4 of last year. The report also showed that the growth in tablet shipments accounted for just 0.2% of the total tablet market, an indication that tablets are not driving the growth of smartphones as much as people may think
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