Retail volume sales of smartphones in Australia are increasingly being driven by replacement sales rather than first-time purchases. Leading brand manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung release their latest flagship models annually. However, smartphone technology is advancing more slowly and so many consumers are increasingly choosing to wait for a longer period of time before choosing to upgrade their existing handset. Category saturation and a lack of significant upgrades were two of the main reasons leading to a slower performance in 2017. As the features offered by various brands become increasingly similar, this has allowed other brand manufacturers within the budget to mid-range segment to prosper in Australia. Volume sales of smartphones declined by 3% in 2017 to 7.6 million units.
Apple’s iPhone continued to lead smartphones in 2017 with retail volume sales of 2.7 million units. Second- ranked Samsung offers appealing designs, with its smartphones often being the go-to option for consumers who do not wish to purchase an iPhone due to its premium price or limited customisation options. Within the Android software interface, it is likely that Samsung will remain the leading player as it taps into the field of virtual reality and offers a range of premium hardware and software features such as no bezel AMOLED display and better integration with connected devices.
Smartphones are increasingly becoming the most important mobile devices in most people’s lives due to offering various functions and features and thus negating the need for consumers to carry several gadgets. Over the forecast period it is expected that major brand manufacturers will continue to drive advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning within the personal assistant space. The smartphones of the future will be able to better track, interpret and respond to patterns and trends as they learn consumers’ unique usage patterns. As image recognition, speech dictation and translation become more accurate, consumers will have a more customised experience and change the way they operate and use their smartphones.