Smartphone sales down as price rises and less upgrades impact maturing Australian market

Smart wearables sales increased by 60% year-on-year driven by health and fitness bands

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Australia’s smartphone market is maturing and combined with the higher cost of premium models, 1 million less units were sold in 2015, according to a new study from emerging technology analyst firm Telsyte.

The Telsyte Australian Smartphone and Wearable Devices Market Study 2016 found 7.9 million smartphones were sold in 2015 compared with 8.9 million in 2014, an 11 per cent decline.

However Telsyte expects this to reverse in 2016, with a forecast 8.4 million units to be sold due to an anticipated major iPhone refresh, a stronger line up of Android-based handsets and new smart accessories that complement latest smartphones such as Virtual Reality headsets.

In the second half of 2015, Android lead the market by units sold with 49 per cent share, followed by iOS with 46 per cent and other platforms at 5 per cent. In the second half of 2015, the leading brands were Apple and Samsung, with Huawei also having a strong showing with its Nexus 6P offering.

“The Australian smartphone market had a cyclical downturn in 2015, but revenues remained steady offset by price rises,” Managing Director of Telsyte Foad Fadaghi says.

Signs that the market is nearing saturation emerged in 2015 as only 860,000 new smartphone users were added, down from 1.87 million in 2014. Telsyte expects a similar number of new users in 2016 with the figure nearing the natural net population growth by 2020 (approximately 400,000 to 500,000 people per year). Telsyte believes there was 17.6 million Australian smartphone users at the end of 2015.

However, Telsyte estimates 3.5 million Australians are still using regular mobile phones and have yet to upgrade to a smartphone.  Telsyte expects the smartphone market will receive a boost as Telstra and Optus decommission their 2G networks in 2016 and 2017, requiring those on older handsets to finally upgrade.

Telsyte research shows around half of iPhone users have yet to upgrade to the larger form factor iPhone 6 (or later) models, despite the iPhone retaining a greater than 80 per cent repeat purchase intention amongst its users. Telsyte believes some of this market will be best addressed with a more affordable and possibly smaller form factor model expected to be announced in early 2016.

“It is getting harder to get consumers to upgrade their smartphones. Manufacturers will need to give customers more reasons to upgrade in 2016 than the end of mobile service contract, or larger screen size” Fadaghi says.

Smart fitness band sales continue to grow

The adoption of health and fitness apps – and health-orientated lifestyle choices by Australians – is driving a boom in smart wearable devices which are now used by more than 2 million Australians (16+ years of age). Looking forward, Telsyte predicts by 2020 around a third of the population could be wearing a smart wearable device on their wrists.

In Australia, Smart wearables continue to be dominated by lower cost smart wristbands rather than premium priced smartwatches. Telsyte estimates approximately 76 per cent of the 944,000 units sold in the second half of 2015 were smart wristbands, such as those produced by Fitbit and Garmin.

Smartwatches have been less successful in attracting the mainstream buyer. Telsyte’s research into Australian consumers’ attitudes to technology and lifestyle shows that current smartwatch users are twice as likely to want to “stand out in a crowd”, three times more likely to “always keep up with the latest technology developments” and five times more likely to “feel pressure to buy the latest gadgets” than the average Australian consumer.

“Smartwatch user profiles suggests the market is still only drawing in early adopters of technology,” Senior Analyst Alvin Lee says.

“However the lines are blurring as more affordable smart wristbands are offering features that were previously only available on smartwatches,” Lee says.

Telsyte research shows that Apple retained market leadership of the Australian smartwatch market in 2015, followed by Samsung and LG.

For further information on the report or media inquiries contact:

Foad Fadaghi
Managing Director
Tel: +61 2 9235 5851
Twitter: @foadfadaghi

For sales and consulting enquiries please contact Foad Fadaghi on +612 9235 5851 (

About Telsyte’s Australian Smartphone and Wearables Devices Market Study 2016

The Telsyte Australian Smartphone and Wearables Devices Market Study 2016 is a comprehensive 90 page report which provides subscribers with:

  • Market sizing estimates, platform and vendor market shares and forecasts

  • End user trends across devices

  • Purchase intentions and user segmentation

  • Device profiles and ratings

  • Forecasts, and audience estimates usable by contentand application developers

In preparing this study, Telsyte used:

  • An online survey of a representative sample of Australians 16+ years of age conducted with 1,075 respondents in October 2015.

  • Financial reports released by manufacturers, publishers and service providers.

  • On-going monitoring of local and global market and vendor trends.

The material in this article is copyright protected and not intended to be altered, copied, distributed or used for any commercial or non-commercial purpose, except for news reporting, comment, criticism, teaching and scholarship.