UK sees major drop in smartphone sales

British consumers may be approaching peak smartphone after new figures showed a major decline in demand for new devices across the country.

Analysis by GfK found that the UK market saw an 11 percent decline in smartphone sales compared to this time last year, the largest drop across Western Europe.

The drop reflected a wider global decline in the demand for smartphones, which fell two percent to total 347 million units sold across the first quarter of 2018. GfK noted that this figure was not helped by a six percent year-on-year drop in sales in China, and a five percent decline in the United States.

Mixed fortunes

Across Western Europe, demand was found to be two percent lower than the previous year, falling to 28.3 million units. 

However overall revenue increased 23 percent year-on-year, perhaps reflecting that customers were turning to more expensive premium devices such as the iPhone X.

“We start the year with a very different picture to the final quarter of 2017, when smartphone demand records were broken," said Arndt Polifke, GfK’s telecom expert.

"In the first quarter of 2018 by comparison, there was a year-on-year decline in global smartphone demand. It’s perhaps no surprise as we hit saturation point in more markets."

"On the other hand, consumers are tending to choose higher-priced models as they embrace the latest innovations offered by smartphone brands. As a result, the average sales price grew by an astonishing 21 percent year-on-year to $374. This led to 18 percent revenue growth globally, which is exceptional for a maturing industry.”

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.