The growth of the Korean smartphone market is estimated to turn negative this year due to market saturation.
According to the US market researcher Strategy Analytics (SA) on October 14 (Korean time), this year’s domestic smartphone market is expected to decline 14 percent from last year’s 30.7 million units to around 26.3 million, making this year the first time for negative growth since 2007 when Apple launched its legendary iPhone in the country.
Sales in the domestic smartphone market, which were just 200,000 units in 2007, has shown explosive growth to reach 6.9 million in 2010, 17.5 million in 2011, and a record-high 30.7 million units last year.
SA said Korea also had the highest level of smartphone ownership in the world last year, owing to rising demand for the handset and faster Internet networks. 67.6 of mobile phone users in the country had smartphones, the highest in the world. The global average was 14.8 percent. In 2011, Korea ranked fourth with 38.3 percent smartphone ownership.
Strategy Analytics forecast that Korea’s smartphone market wavering a little this year would show an upward trend until 2018, but would not break last year’s record sales of 30 million mark.
The market researcher also forecast Korea’s smartphone market penetration rate would reach 79.5 percent this year, estimating ownership to reach 88.9 percent in 2017, higher than Singapore’s 66.5 percent and Hong Kong’s 63.6 percent.
According to Strategy Analytics, China’s smartphone market is expected to reach 315 million units this year, almost doubled from last year’s 173 million units, while the US market would just inch up to 143 million units from last year’s 115 million units.