Australian smartphone market bounces back as Apple drives 14% year-over-year growth

Following six straight quarters of year-over-year decline, the Australian mobile phone market returned to growth as it shipped 2.93 million mobile phones in quarter four of 2016, as compared to 2.84 million the same time the previous year representing a 3.2% year-over-year growth.

According to International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker , 2.79 million handsets shipped were smartphones whilst the remaining were feature phones in the fourth quarter of 2016. The growth came primarily from smartphones as new players entered the market, according to the research group.

iOS has again become the most popular operating system in Australia overtaking Android as it took over more than half (54.9%) of the total smartphone shipments in quarter four of 2016. 

“Despite new players such as Google with the Pixel device entering the market, Android could only take 44.6% market share. This goes to show the unanticipated success of iPhone 7 range as Apple smashed through shipment records for the quarter” says Bilal Javed, market analyst at IDC Australia. Windows Phone declines further and hold less than 1% market share as lack of new devices and apps on the platform continue to hinder any opportunity in both the consumer as well as commercial segment.

Apple surpassed all expectations as the newly launched iPhone 7 gained momentum in the market and stretched its lead further to hold 54.9% of the Australian smartphone market. 

“With over 1.5m shipments in 2016Q4 making it one of the most successful quarters for Apple in Australia since its launch” says Bilal. 

Apple was able to benefit as refresh cycles on two year post-paid contracts approached and consumers warranted a natural upgrade. It seems Apple was also able to pounce on the void left by Samsung Note 7 for consumers seeking large screen devices with a matching spec heavy iPhone 7 Plus device.

Even as it experienced a 28.8% year-over-year decline, Samsung was still able to hold onto their second spot as it held 15.6% of the market. 

What remains to be seen is whether the multiple expected launches from Android vendors in the early half of 2017 and iOS later in the year will be able to inject further growth into a market that was showing signs of saturation, notes IDC.