Smartphone sales in Australia were up 11 per cent year-on-year in 2017, with 9.2 million units sold, according to the latest figures by industry research firm, Telsyte.
The Telsyte Australian Smartphone and Wearable Devices Market Study 2018 estimates that 4.8 million smartphones were sold in the second half of 2017 alone, up six per cent from the same period in 2016.
Australian smartphone growth in 2017 was driven by an Android replacement cycle, according to Telsyte. In fact, Android devices made up 55 per cent of all units sold during the period.
Overall, Telsyte suggests that there are now around 19.3 million smartphone users in Australia, most of which use Android phones. According to Telsyte’s estimates, 8.6 million Australians use iPhones and 10.3 million are Android users, while another 400,000 use other platforms.
According to Telsyte, the top three Android vendors in the second half of 2017 were Samsung, OPPO and Huawei.
It should be noted, however, that despite iPhone sales remaining steady to H2 2017, Apple maintained the highest repeat purchase rate of any brand.
iPhone X misses the mark
Although the period reported coincided with the launch of Apple’s much-touted iPhone X, a significant number of additional sales were not recorded in Australia, according to Telsyte. This was mostly due to the high price tag and short time-in-market during the calendar year.
Overall, the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and 7 were the most popular iPhone models in 2H 2017.
At the same time, Telsyte’s research suggests Australians are now prepared to pay more for internal smartphone storage than they once were. The industry research firm estimates that the average cost of a smartphone in Australia has risen by more than 30 per cent since 2015.
According to Telsyte, one reason for the rise is that Australian smartphone users are now seeking models that have more internal storage, which are generally sold at a higher price point.
Indeed, the research suggests that over 70 per cent of smartphone users claim that internal smartphone storage is an important factor in their purchasing criteria.
The Apple Pay factor
Telsyte’s latest research also uncovers an emerging trend among smartphone users suggesting that the adoption by Australia’s banks of the Apple Pay platform could be influencing which financial institutions Australians choose to bank with.
This finding comes after a long and drawn-out battle between some of Australia’s biggest banks and Apple, with three of the country's four major banks lobbying unsuccessfully for permission to collectively bargain with Apple over its Pay platform.
Telsyte research now indicates Apple Pay has the greatest potential to change Australians’ banking decisions, as Android Pay is more widely supported by major banks in Australia.
Around one in five -- 22 per cent -- iPhone users claim they are more likely to bank with a provider if it supports Apple Pay, according to Telsyte. This figure increases to 32 per cent for those who are also using an Apple Watch.
Meanwhile, Telsyte’s research shows that Apple watches dominates smart wrist wearable sales. This comes as sales of smartwatches exceeded smart wristbands for the first time in Australia, with 844,000 smart wrist wearable devices sold in 2H 2017.
Overall, however, there was a year-on-year decline in smart wrist wearables dragged down by plummeting fitness band sales, which declined by over 30 per cent.
At the same time, six-month sales of smartwatches grew 29 per cent, compared to 2H 2016, as health and fitness features on smartwatches cannibalise other smart wrist bands.
Almost three quarters of smartwatches sold during 2H 2017 were Apple Watches, accounting for 360,000 units, compared to just over half a year ago.