The average selling price (ASP) of smartphones increased again in the third quarter of 2017, up a record seven per cent year on year, according to research firm GfK.
Global smartphone demand was also up, reaching 367 million units in Q3, an increase of three per cent year on year. GfK said that despite moderating growth, this is the highest Q3 figure it has tracked in terms of absolute demand.
The firm’s research has shown that in Q3 around the world, 366.6 million smartphones were sold.
Western Europe was one region that experienced a drop in the number of sales, with the number of units shifted standing at 30.9 million. This was down from 33.2 million in Q3 of 2016, a fall of seven per cent.
Arndt Polifke, global director of telecom research at GfK, said: “Although unit sales may be down in some regions, the increase in ASP reveals the fantastic opportunity to grow the value of the smartphone market.
"This is welcome news for manufacturers, particularly in regions such as Western Europe where saturation has resulted in declining sales volumes year on year.”
He went on to say that the smartphone industry has “clearly been switching its focus to drive sales value”, with top tier global brands – including Apple, Samsung, Google and LG, among others – either already having released or intending to launch new premium models in an attempt to convince customers to pay more for their flagship devices.
Mr Polifke added that premium features are also increasing in importance to consumers, so GfK expects to see more emphasis on specs like water and dust resistance, higher battery power and memory, good quality sound, camera and video capabilities, bezel-less design and biometric sensors.
In terms of smartphone demand in Western Europe, the combination of the saturated market and delayed launch of the iPhone X was blamed for a year-on-year decline for the fourth consecutive quarter.
GfK revealed that the UK is expected to experience an eight per cent fall in the number of smartphones sold. However, it was also found that sales value in Western Europe rose four per cent year on year, largely the result of an 11 per cent increase in ASP.
As a result, GfK said it raised its 2017 smartphone revenue outlook for the region to six per cent year on year. The shift towards “very high end devices” is a clear trend in this region, according to the firm, with one out of eight smartphones sold in this quarter priced above $900, twice the number of Q3 in 2016.
Devices like Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 will be responsible for increasing the amount buyers have spent on smartphones. It is a trend that appears not to be going anywhere, with Apple’s latest offering, the iPhone X, becoming the first to break the £1,000 threshold.