Forecast: Smartphone sales to recover after down year

Dive Brief:

  • After a three-year low for smartphone purchases last year, an Accenture survey sees the space rebounding because of better security, new functions, improved performance and device refresh schedules as outlined in an Accenture press release. The report found 54% of respondents plan on buying a smartphone this year, up from 48% in 2016.
  • The Dynamic Digital Consumers report also predicts a down year for smartwatches and fitness monitors because of high prices and persistent concerns about the security and privacy of their personal data.
  • As artificial intelligence becomes a more active part of most consumers’ lives, the report indicated that consumers are embracing AI capabilities like personal digital assistants.

Dive Insight:

With smartphones approaching full penetration, sluggish smartphone sales have meant that many are holding onto older models that cannot take advantage of newer functionality like mobile payments, 360 video and more. If a significant number of consumers upgrade their phones this year, it will be good news for marketers, whose mobile-driven efforts may get a boost. 

If the forecast bears out, it will also be good news for Apple, which has been struggling with sluggish sales. Other original equipment manufacturers would similarly welcome an upswing in sales. 

Accenture's prediction that the wearables category will struggle in 2017 is hardly a surprise and highlights a challenge in the wearables category which has been faltering because of price points and features, particularly with smartwatches, that largely overlap with smartphones.  

Given the current emphasis on AI tech, acceptance by the public is a positive step for tech products and marketers utilizing AI capabilities. Sovie stated that 2017 will “be the year when artificial intelligence goes mainstream in consumer devices." The most common interaction consumers will have with AI will likely be digital assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Cortana.

Filed Under: Trends Mobile
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