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Mobile Market To Decline As Consumers Take To Refurbished Premium Phones

As brands such as Huawei try to take on Apple and Samsung brands such as Nokia, HTC and Motorola are desperately struggling to hold onto market share in a market that is set to decline 3% this year according to new research.

CCS Insight an analyst group is predicting the smartphone segment could be in for another year of falling sales with year-on-year shipments forecast to decline.

One issue that is becoming evident is that brands such as Nokia and HTC who are getting walloped in the market and are now being forced to discount models, are also struggling to innovate with their devices due to a lack of R&D capital.

Another issue impacting brands is that cash conscious consumers are buying refurbished devices that were previously branded “premium”. Consumers are also holding onto their current smartphones for longer.

“Yearly sales of 2 billion mobile phones seemed so close just a few years ago, but might become a distant dream for the industry,” said Marina Koytcheva of CCS Insight.

“It is little surprise that all big mobile phone-makers are strongly pursuing the Indian market. India is one of the few oases where a significant growth opportunity still remains. However, it is Chinese brands like Xiaomi that are achieving the most success, which is of great concern to high-profile brands such as Apple and Samsung.”

The brand that is not sold in Australia by carriers or mainstream smartphone retailers is being offered by Kogan who is selling a grey imported model.

Although the 2 billion annual milestone has been predicted many times, CCS Insight believe shipments will be around 1.8 billion for 2019. A new five-year outlook is for 1.9 billion on an annual basis until 2023.

One of the biggest contributors to the decline, is that 35% of survey respondents suggested they will be holding onto devices longer, and only 13% stating refreshments cycles would be more frequent.

That said, China is also not immune from global trends, with CCS Insight forecasting sales in the country will be down 9% year-on-year. This follows a 13% decline last year.

CCS Insights claim that a lack of device innovation and a sense of more of the same is discouraging consumers from prying open their wallets, especially when the prices are so steep. The launch of Huawei’s P30 Series is an example of this. Priced between $1099 and $1,599, it is being praised by journalists who were given a free business class trip to Paris though it is demonstrating little more than feature upgrades.

Telecoms.com claims that it’s a lot of money to pay for “incremental improvements.”

In a major shoot out conducted by Digital Trends one of the world’s leading technology web sites between the new Huawei P30, the Samsung Galaxy S10 and the Apple i XS it was the Samsung Galaxy S10 that came out on top despite major upgrades to the Huawei camera.

See review here. 

Digital Trends review S10 VS Huawei P30 VS Apple XS

As for 5G the analysts claim it won’t be enough to save the fortunes of the segment in 2019.

CCS Insight is forecasting that the limited nature of coverage and limited supply, will have little impact on the dampening trends.

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