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Smartphone sales are up 5 percent in 2016... but not for Apple

In spite of saturation, smartphone sales are actually up 5 percent in 2016, and where they’re really moving may surprise you. Apple, however, is flagging.

Published onAugust 15, 2016

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It’s no surprise to anyone following the tech industry that smartphone sales are getting pretty tough. The market in developed countries is fairly saturated, and even China’s once-booming market is starting to cool off substantially. However, smartphone sales are actually up 5 percent in 2016, and where they’re really moving may surprise you. 

Researchers at Canalys are pointing to the Asia Pacific market as the primary regions of growth in the smartphone market over the course of the last year (excluding China). India and the Philippines are the markets really hitting it out of the park, showing a respective growth of 21 and 26 percent from 2015 to 2016.

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“Smartphone penetration in these markets remains low, meaning there is a big opportunity for vendors,” says Ishan Dutt, a research analyst. “Growth in established markets is harder to find but, despite shipment declines in the first two quarters, we expect Western Europe and North America to return to growth in the second half of the year. Both regions will end 2016 with single-digit percentage shipment increases, helped by the launch of a new iPhone.”

However, in spite of this iPhone boost, Apple is finding themselves in increasing trouble on a global scale. China is especially a hard sell for the American tech giant. Even though the launch of the iPhone 6 caused a serious spike in product sales in China last year, the company hasn’t maintained that momentum. The iPhone 6s aimed to keep that fire stoked, but companies like HUAWEI and vivo are offering similarly specced products that have much-desired features like waterproofing and wireless charging, all at a lower price.

Apple needs to catch up with the competition if it wants to compete.

The iPhone 7 is expected to produce a similar spike in 2016, but whether or not the company succeeds in maintaining that momentum over the course of the coming months will hinge on how well they are able to adapt to the changing market.  This year is the first time that Apple is reporting an annual decline.

“Apple needs to catch up with the competition if it wants to compete,” says analyst Jessie Ding, indicating that local players have seriously stepped up their game in recent years.

What are your thoughts regarding the boom of smartphone sales in the Philippines and India? Will Apple be able to evolve and stay successful in this changing market or are they, like the CEO of LeEco recently declared, “outdated?” Give us your thoughts in the comments below!

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