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Premium Phone Growth Up Despite Market Slump

Latest numbers from Counterpoint Research claim premium smartphone growth has surpassed that of the overall industry – up 18%, versus a 3% drop – after spiking in December 2018.

Premium phone brand diversity is also increasing, with growth for 2018 driven by Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Oppo, vivo and OnePlus.

Research Director, Tom Kang, claims the newly created US$800+ ‘ultra premium’ smartphone segment has grown the fastest, despite a slump in the overall smartphone market.

For the year, Apple led the global premium smartphone segment with 51% of the market, followed by Samsung (22%) and Huawei (10%).

Higher prices from the likes of Samsung and Apple are said to have caused a ripple effect, with Chinese OEMs “taking advantage of the headroom created.”

“Within the premium segment, the $800+ ultra-premium segment has been growing the fastest. In 2017 it was merely 8% of the premium market (defined as $400+),” remarks Kang.

“Ever since the Apple iPhone X was introduced in late 2017, prices have jumped to a new level. Further more in 2018, the new flagships of Apple (XS, XS Max), Samsung (note 9) and Google (Pixel 3 XL) were all launched above the $800 price.”

Although consumers are “now willing” to spend more on smartphones, replacement demand has slumped, with users holding onto devices for longer.

Despite a slump in the overall market, premium smartphone growth has continued to rise, and is forecast to continue after the debut of  ‘foldable phones’ and 5G devices.

Globally, the ‘affordable premium segment’ (US$400 – US$600) notched the largest volume segment in total premium sales.

While Apple still leads in this segment, Chinese vendor OnePlus is hot on its tails.

OnePlus is not currently available in Australia, however, the brand is tipped to further grow as it broadens its reach in European and US markets.

Read Counterpoint Research’s Market Pulse December 2018 report here.

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