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Low- to mid-range smartphones dominate worldwide smartphone forecast

Economic uncertainties have increased the downward pressure on smartphone prices globally with 73% of shipments in 2020 expected to be priced below $400, according to a new price band forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. Worldwide smartphone value is expected to decline 7.9% in 2020 to $422.4 billion, down from $458.5 billion in 2019. The downward trend is intensified by consumers turning to devices priced in the low-to-mid range as they prioritize spending on essentials.

Overall, the low-to-mid end segment ($100 to less than $400) dominated global smartphone shipments with 60% market share in the second quarter of 2020 (2Q20) and is expected to grow in the short term to 63% by next year. The mid-to-high end segment ($400 to less than $600) grew its share of the market by almost 4 points to 11.6% in 2Q20. Devices from Samsung, Huawei, and other Chinese vendors like Xiaomi, OPPO, and vivo are the main vendors driving these segments. Apple also recently entered the mid segment with its new iPhone SE device, which has performed well, further validating the trend toward more budget-friendly devices.

“Rising unemployment rates and job uncertainty have influenced consumers’ buying patterns towards economic and affordable products. Subsequently, the overall portfolio in smartphones is moving toward low-to-mid end devices,” said Sangeetika Srivastava, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. “This has intensified competition as market players need to continue presenting attractive deals and bundling offers to encourage consumers to purchase a new device, especially in the higher-priced segments.”

The pressure on prices is reflected worldwide, though it is most obvious in developing regions like Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan and China) (APeJC), Latin America, Middle East & Africa (MEA), and Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) where under $400 devices captured up to 85% of the market in 2Q20. Even in the U.S., devices under $200 increased their share 10 points year over year to capture 27% of the market in 2Q20. In China, the mid-to-high end segment ($400-$600) grew the most with an 8-point increase in market share to 21% in 2Q20.

“Looking forward, as consumers increasingly want a better value proposition from their phones, the low and mid segments ($100-$200 and $200-$400) will remain the most popular. However, in the long term, IDC expects the fastest growth will be in the $400-600 price band as 5G sales grow and the average selling price (ASP) for 5G phones drops to $465 in 2024,” said Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. CT Bureau

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