CES 2015: Should we redefine the boundaries of smartphone markets?

The labels "mature" and "emerging" markets may no longer be relevant to describe smartphone sales, according to an analyst

The labels of "mature" and "emerging" markets may no longer be relevant to describe smartphone sales, according to CEA industry analyst Steve Koenig.

Speaking to the Consumer Electronics Show 2015 in Vegas, Koenig explained due to the types of technology being bought in so-called emerging markets, they are not necessarily emerging anymore.

Koenig suggested "legacy" and "growing" may be more appropriate labels for technology segments as smartphone spending continues to grow in Asia and South Americas.

But a 19% year-on-year growth is predicted for the smartphone market in 2015 as low-cost handsets flood the market from China.

It is predicted that 75% of the smartphone market in 2015 will be attributed to emerging markets due to these low-cost handsets, a rapid change from 2010 when most of the market share was held by mature markets.

These market changes are leading to a predicted market revenue of $40,6735m in 2015, a 9% year-on-year growth in comparison to 2014’s 13% annual increase.

The tablet market is following a similar trajectory. Despite a rapid growth in tablets over the last three years, the market is beginning to slow, and a 20% growth in year-on-year sales is predicted in 2015, a drop from 2014.

These patterns have been a long time coming and patterns had emerged across 2014, with Gartner finding early last year that mobile manufacturers saw a limited increase in market share over the year, due to consumers finding less reason to upgrade existing technology.

These increases are due to these devices having a capability of basic compute power that meets the needs of users in emerging markets, and sales of these devices in emerging markets has almost doubled since 2011.

Although smartphones remain the spending driver with tablets a close second, they’re not the only products fuelling spending, with Koenig citing the “magnificent seven” – smartphones, tablets, digital SLR cameras, desk PCs, mobile PCs, LCD TVs and the trusty mobile phone.

Overall, technology spending saw a 1% growth in 2014, with a total spend of $1.024 trillion globally, but the market is uncertain as it remains unclear how much longer device sales will continue to grow.

Read more on Tablet computers