Global smartphone sales were down in Q1 2018, but premium models boosted average prices

Rather than tracking the achievements of individual smartphone vendors or comparing mobile OS share numbers, Germany’s largest market research institute generally focuses on providing the most accurate and detailed view possible of global demand and revenue fluctuations.

GfK’s latest report highlights a two percent decline in worldwide smartphone sales during Q1, offset by an astonishing 21 percent ASP year-on-year surge. The average price of the only 347 million smartphone units sold between January and March 2018 was USD 374, generating an estimated $129.8 billion in revenue, up a similarly impressive 18 percent from Q1 2017’s total earnings for the “maturing industry.”

You need to look no further than Apple’s costliest ever iPhone lineup and strong initial demand for Samsung’s Galaxy S9 duo to explain this sudden rise in average global smartphone value.

Granted, one the world’s most expensive mainstream handsets was not particularly successful this quarter, but other top brands also ramped up innovation and advertising in the high-end segment, which probably paid off on a wider scale than ever before.

Key regions that considerably boosted Q1 2018 ASPs and revenues included Western, Central and Eastern Europe, China, as well as both Developed and Emerging Asia territories. The biggest demand declines were reported in North America and China, while unit sales grew 5 and 3 percent year-on-year in Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America respectively.

Looking ahead, GfK’s analysts, which by the way use actual end-demand consumer purchases data instead of manufacturer shipments, expect smartphone demand to continue to shrink across North America, China and Developed Asia, with full-year sales growth projected in Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, Middle East and Africa, and the Emerging Asia region.

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About The Author
Adrian Diaconescu
Adrian has had an insatiable passion for writing since he was in school and found himself writing philosophical essays about the meaning of life and the differences between light and dark beer. Later, he realized this was pretty much his only marketable skill, so he first created a personal blog (in Romanian) and then discovered his true calling, which is writing about all things tech (in English).