Home Mobility Global smartphone market stalling, exciting models selling well: claim

Global smartphone market stalling, exciting models selling well: claim

Last year the global smartphone market saw a little growth momentum on the back of a wave of replacement-led demand, says Asian market intelligence company Witsview. This year any growth will come from “stimulating” consumer demand with new exciting models and features.

Witsview, a division of Trendforce tracks component manufacturers for its market intelligence. It is often ahead of the curve against those that use sell-in or sell-out figures.

It says device vendors’ inventories began to pile up in the first quarter of this year resulting in lowering of future orders especially for the phones that lack “excitement” factors like the new 18:9 ratio screens and significantly higher screen-to-body (STB) ratios above 75%.

Boyce Fan, research director of WitsView, said that the Chinese market also saw a reduction of smartphone purchase subsidies from domestic telecom operators adversely affecting shipments when the “real” handset prices are revealed. This obviously affects the higher cost models more.

WitsView says that around 10% of smartphones shipped in 2017 will have displays with 18:9 or higher STB ratios allowing larger screens in smaller bodies. “Even though many new devices with AMOLED displays and the next iPhone release have generated market buzz, brands outside of Apple and Samsung are still waiting for more positive signs from consumers,” Fan added.

“Samsung’s S8 and LG’s G6 respective flagship series both adopted the 18:9 format, narrow bezel design and removed the physical home button. Apple's next premium iPhone model is widely tipped to follow with an AMOLED screen and higher aspect ratio for a similar streamlined look. These changes by major international brands have also spurred Chinese brands to catch up,” he added.

WitsView’s latest research indicates that mass production and shipments of 18:9 smartphone panels will take place from the third to fourth quarter 2017 and production of 16:9 screens is being scaled back. Whether panel suppliers can provide sufficient supply of 18:9 smartphone panels to meet new model demand is still uncertain.

It says Apple, Samsung, and LG premium devices will represent much of the full-screen smartphone shipments for 2017.

The market penetration of 18:9 will increase significantly in 2018 when most brands outside of Apple have made the transition to the 18:9 display. By then 37% of smartphones — mainly flagship models — will have displays with 18:9 or even higher aspect ratios.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!