Global smartphone average sales price sees record year-on-year growth in Q4’17

Global smartphone sales reached 397 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017 (Q4’17), a one per cent increase year-on-year. Demand was primarily driven by Middle East and Africa, which experienced eight per cent growth, and Central & Eastern Europe, where demand grew seven per cent. Global smartphone average sales price (ASP) increased by 10 per cent year-on-year to USD 363, its fastest quarterly growth rate to date.

Smartphone sales Q4 2016 vs. Q4 2017


Units sold
(in million)
Sales value
(in billion USD)
Q4’16 Q4’17 Y/Y % change Q4’16 Q4’17 Y/Y % change
Western Europe 38.3 37.0 -3% 16.1 18.8 17%
C & E Europe 23.6 25.2 7% 5.4 6.9 28%
North America 58.7 62.0 6% 27.4 28.5 4%
Latin America 33.1 35.0 6% 10.0 11.2 12%
Middle East & Africa 42.6 46.2 8% 10.6 10.9 3%
China 118.4 114.7 -3% 36.6 43.0 17%
Developed Asia 20.3 18.5 -9% 13.9 13.2 -5%
Emerging Asia 58.9 58.6 -1% 10.1 11.5 14%
Global 393.9 397.2 1% 130.1 144.0 11%
Source: GfK Point of Sales (POS) Measurement data in 75+ markets, monthly data to the end of November 2017, plus weekly data to 31 December 2017. Percentages are rounded.

Arndt Polifke, global director of PoS telecom research at GfK, comments: “Smartphone year-on-year demand growth moderated for the fourth consecutive quarter, rising only one per cent to 397 million units in 4Q’17. However, sales value increased by 11 per cent year-on-year in the quarter, which is exceptional growth for such a mature technology category. This came as the proliferation of smartphones with larger and bezel-less displays incentivised consumers to purchase more expensive devices.”

Western Europe: Strong revenue development combined with a positive demand outlook

Smartphone demand in Western Europe totaled 37.0 million units in Q4’17, down three per cent year-on-year. Despite this unit decline, sales value increased by 17 per cent, driven particularly by 24 per cent value growth in Great Britain and 19 per cent value growth in France. In 2017, smartphone sales value in Western Europe totaled USD 56 billion, up five per cent compared to 2016. However, in unit terms the market declined by four per cent to 125.6 million. The outlook for the region in 2018 is positive, with demand expected to rise by one per cent to total 126.4 million units.

Central and Eastern Europe: Strong recovery and highest value increase among all regions

Demand continued to recover in Central and Eastern Europe, with smartphone sales totaling 25.2 million units in Q4’17, a rise of seven per cent year-on-year. Further, similar to trends in Western Europe, sales value increased by a massive 28 per cent year-on-year. For 2017, the region saw sales of 85.2 million smartphones, a rise of nine per cent compared to 2016. And it is expected to grow in 2018, with GfK forecasting a six per cent increase in demand driven by Russia and Ukraine.

North America: Strongest demand growth in over two years

The North America smartphone market saw demand grow six per cent year-on-year in Q4’17, its highest growth in over two years. Sales value increased by four per cent to USD 28.5 billion. As a result, sales in 2017 rose two per cent compared to 2016, totaling 201.3 million units. However, this recent upturn is not expected to last, and GfK forecasts demand to be flat in 2018 compared to 2017.

Latin America: Strong recovery but outlook remains moderate

Fueled by a strong recovery in Brazil, smartphone demand in Latin America continued to grow in Q4’17, with sales rising six per cent year-on-year to 35.0 million units. This caused 2017 sales to rise nine per cent compared to 2016. However, GfK forecasts growth in the region to moderate to two per cent in 2018 compared to 2017, dragged by a slowdown in Brazil.

Middle East and Africa: Egypt and Saudi Arabia drive strong growth in smartphone demand

In Middle East and Africa, smartphone sales totaled 46.2 million units in 4Q17, a rise of eight per cent year-on-year, with growth driven primarily by Egypt and Saudi Arabia. In Egypt, demand grew by an impressive 28 per cent in the quarter, while in Saudi Arabia it rose 24 per cent. In 2017, smartphone sales in the region totaled 176.5 million units, a rise of four per cent compared to 2016. GfK forecasts demand to rise by five per cent in 2018, as relatively low levels of smartphone penetration in this region leaves plenty of room for first-time buyers to enter the market.

China: Despite demand decline, value growth was stellar

Quarterly smartphone demand in China was sluggish, with Q4’17 sales declining three per cent year-on-year to 114.7 million units. This was the first year-on-year decline for the country in two and half years. However, sales value increased by 17 per cent year-on-year, as consumers continue to shift towards mid-range and high-end devices. In 2017, demand rose one per cent to 454.4 million units, though in value terms, again growth was much higher, up 14 per cent compared to 2016.

Developed Asia*: Demand weighed on by South Korea

Sales in Developed Asia totaled 18.5 million units in Q4’17, a fall of nine per cent year-on-year, dragged by a 21 per cent decline in South Korea. Smartphone sales in the region totaled 68.5 million units in 2017, a fall of six per cent compared to 2016. However, GfK forecasts a return to growth of two percent in 2018, driven primarily by improving fortunes in Japan.

Emerging Asia*: Suffers its first ever year-on-year decline in Q4’17

Emerging Asia saw smartphone sales of 58.6 million units in 4Q17, down one per cent year-on-year. This was dragged by a three per cent decline in India, where a proliferation of low-priced 4G feature phones likely cannibalised smartphone sales. In 2017, 232.7 million smartphones were sold in the region, an increase of eight per cent compared to 2016. GfK forecasts regional demand growth to improve to nine per cent in 2018.

Yotaro Noguchi, product lead in GfK’s trends and forecasting division, concludes: “The outlook for 2018 is positive as GfK forecasts global smartphone demand to rise by three per cent compared to 2017, driven by Emerging Asia and Central and Eastern Europe. With saturation in developed markets, consumer retention will be a key focus for smartphone makers, which, alongside increased commoditisation, will encourage greater innovation and differentiation in order to spur sales.”

Smartphone sales
2016 vs. 2017


Units sold (in million) Sales value (in billion USD)
2016 2017 Y/Y % change 2016 2017 Y/Y % change
Western Europe 131.0 125.6 -4% 53.5 56.0 5%
C & E Europe 78.0 85.2 9% 16.8 21.2 26%
North America 198.2 201.3 2% 82.9 84.0 1%
Latin America 105.9 115.8 9% 30.9 36.8 19%
Middle East & Africa 168.9 176.5 4% 42.1 41.5 -1%
China 448.5 454.4 1% 133.1 152.3 14%
Developed Asia 72.9 68.5 -6% 46.1 44.2 -4%
Emerging Asia 214.5 232.7 8% 34.5 42.7 24%
Global 1,417.9 1,460.0 3% 439.9 478.7 9%
Source: GfK Point of Sales (POS) Measurement data in 75+ markets, monthly data to the end of November 2017, plus weekly data to 31 December 2017. Percentages are rounded.

*Countries included in Developed/Emerging Asia in this release:

Developed Asia:


Hong Kong


New Zealand


South Korea


Emerging Asia:










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