Is the smartphone market saturated?

Smartphone sales increased substantially in the second quarter of 2015, but the rate of growth continued to slow, fueling concerns that the market has started to become saturated, according to a study released today by Juniper Research.

Smartphone sales increased substantially in the second quarter of 2015, but the rate of growth continued to slow, fueling concerns that the market has started to become saturated, according to a study released today by Juniper Research.

A total of 338 million smartphones were sold in the quarter, the report said, representing a 16% increase over the same period a year ago. But that's a substantial decrease from the 26% growth rate of the year before that, as quarterly shipments reached a total of 290 million.

The report also found the Chinese market, in particular, starting to slow down, even if it also helped to fuel strong demand for the iPhone Apple's revenues in China more than doubled, gaining 112% to reach $13 billion.

But Chinese companies like Huawei and Xiaomi had differing fortunes. Huawei, according to the study, came close to 50% year-on-year sales growth thanks to a more global market focus, while Xiaomi grew by less than 33%, due to a greater emphasis on the Asian market.

Other big players have been less fortunate Juniper said that Samsung sales "continued to decline" in the second quarter, thanks in large part to shipping delays for its flagship S6 and S6 Edge models. LG's unit sales declined by 3% year-on-year, as well.

The quarter was a mixed bag for non-iPhone, non-Android players. BlackBerry continued to decline, slumping toward the 1 million-unit mark, but Microsoft made modest gains, with sales rising 12% to 8.4 million in the quarter, the report found.

The numbers tally generally with analyst's predictions about the smartphone market's slowdown IDC recently predicted that overall growth for 2015 would sink to just over 11%, down from nearly 28% the year before.

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Jon Gold

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