Science & Technology

Global smartphone sales exceeded $500 billion in 2018

Global smartphone sales remained strong in 2018 as the premium trend continues to fuel growth

Global smartphone sales exceeded $500 billion in 2018. Source:

Claiming a 44% share smartphones, mobile phones and wearables are still the powerhouse in the $1.2 trillion technical consumer goods (TCG) market, GfK reports. Although global smartphone demand declined three percent in 2018 to 1.44 billion, sales remain strong and reached $522 billion.

Global smartphone sales remained strong in 2018 as the premium trend continues to fuel growth. In figures, this equates to an increase of 5% ($522 billion). However, the demand for smartphones in 2018 declined by 3% to 1.44 billion units sold worldwide versus 2017. Smartphones represent the majority of the total spend on the global TCG market last year. This is expected to grow plus one percent in 2019.

Around 12% (up from 9% in 2017) of smartphones sold were priced at more than $800 in 2018. The mid-segment of $150-400 continues to be an important competitive battleground accounting for 46% of smartphones sold globally in 2018 (up 2% from 44% in 2017).

Although a somewhat tough comparison with a strong Q4 2017, from October to December 2018, the dearth of appealing innovation continued prolonging replacement cycles and putting average selling price (ASP) under pressure. As a result, ASP declined two percent to an average of $384.

Core wearables remained on a strong growth path in 2018, with year-on-year demand up 16% and sales value up 35%. Demand was driven by the rise of SIM-enabled smartwatches which represent the majority of sales value within the Core wearables category. SIM-enabled smartwatches accounted for 17% of the Core wearables sales value, up from 8%t in 2017.

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