Australia’s smartphone market experienced strong growth in 2017 despite the average replacement cycle increasing to nearly three years due to a steady rise in handset prices, analyst company Telsyte announced.
Telsyte estimates smartphone sales grew 11 per cent year-on-year to 9.2 million units in 2017 as a whole, with 4.8 million units sold in the second half of the year alone (up 6 per cent on H2 2016). Android devices accounted for 55 per cent of H2 sales, mainly due to 2017 being a “replacement year” for Android users, the company said.
Australia now counts about 10.3 million Android and 8.6 million iPhone users (about 0.4 million use other platforms). The top three Android vendors in H2 2017 were Samsung, Oppo and Huawei respectively.
Despite a predicted upturn in Apple sales due to the release of the iPhone X in November 2017, a significant number of additional sales were not recorded in Australia, mostly due to the high price tag and short time-in-market during the calendar year. Overall, the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and 7 were the most popular iPhone models in H2 2017.
Telsyte estimates the average cost of a smartphone in the country rose by more than 30 per cent since 2015. One reason for this rise is Australians want models with more internal storage, which generally cost more. Internal storage is now ranked the fourth most important feature when choosing a smartphone, up from sixth in 2016. More than 70 per cent of smartphone users claim internal smartphone storage is an important factor in their purchasing criteria.
Due to higher investments in smartphones, the average replacement cycle for devices is now closer to three years than the previous two years. Additionally, 44 per cent of smartphone users say the number one reason for not buying a new device is that their smartphone is “still in good condition”.
Despite iPhone sales remaining steady, Apple maintained the highest repeat purchase rate of any brand. Among those who use an iPhone and had purchased a replacement smartphone in H2, about 85 per cent chose to purchase another iPhone. The next highest repeat rate was garnered by Samsung, at more than 70 per cent.
Operating system is the fifth most important factor to people when choosing a smartphone (up from tenth in 2016), with three-quarters of both iPhone and Android smartphone users finding this important.
“As the smartphone market has matured, platform loyalty is at an all-time high, creating almost two unique marketplaces,” said Telsyte MD Foad Fadaghi.