Smartphone vendors shipped a total of 334.9 million smartphones worldwide last quarter. This figure is up just 0.2 percent from the 334.3 million units in Q1 2015, marking the smallest year-over-year growth on record. We saw hints of this in yesterday’s Apple earnings report, when the company reported an iPhone sales drop for the first time.
Source: IDC: Smartphone shipments flat for the first time; Samsung widens lead over Apple in Q1 2016 | VentureBeat | Mobile | by Emil Protalinski
That cell phone sales have flatlined shouldn’t surprise anyone. The advances in technology that drove a lot of sales has slowed to a crawl. Where once each generation of phone being released offered impressive improvements in ease of use, processing power, storage, etc., the last few generations of phones have offered almost nothing new to the users. Most of the improvements made over the last two or three years have been incremental, almost unnoticeable to the user; slight improvements in the cameras, a bit better screen resolution, slightly faster processors, small increases in available memory.
So with most, if not all of the improvements to the phones now being so slight as to be virtually unnoticeable to the end user, why bother to upgrade? The only reason I upgraded to an iPhone 6 was because my ancient iP 4 was on its last legs, and I got one hell of a good deal on it. Otherwise I’d still be using it. My wife is still quite happy with her elderly iP 4, and she’ll keep using it until it expires because there is no reason for her to change.
The same thing is happening in the personal computer industry. Sales are flat, even declining, because there have been few, if any, new technologies introduced that people want or need.
2 thoughts on “IDC: Smartphone shipments flat for the first time; Samsung widens lead over Apple in Q1 2016 | VentureBeat | Mobile | by Emil Protalinski”
I got a new iP 6 last week when my almost 4 year old iP 5 started acting up. I wanted to milk it a little longer, but didn’t want to wait until it died for good at the worst possible time. I seem to get 3-4 years out of a phone. You are right that improvements in phones are incremental. I think also that the market is approaching saturation…everyone who wants a smartphone now has one. There isn’t much growth left. The sales go flat because of guys like us who are not new sign ups, we are just replacing a phone one-for-one.
I agree with all of your comments.
I’m seeing an ever increasing disconnection in business between business strategy and reality. Just making a decent profit isn’t enough. They have to constantly expand sales, expand markets, grow profits. If a company is just making a profit and isn’t expanding, isn’t growing, isn’t getting bigger, it’s considered a failure. But this never ending growth paradigm is fundamentally flawed because it requires literally an infinitely large potential market, which is complete nonsense. The market is limited, and once that limit is reached, increases in sales naturally stagnate.
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