Australia’s smartphone market flatlined in 2020 as users felt the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to analyst firm Telsyte, local sales of smartphone devices fell from 8.44 million in 2019 to 8.38 million in 2020, with the second half of the year accounting for more than half of sales.
In its Australian Smartphone and Wearable Devices Market Study 2021, Telsyte found that iPhones increased by 12 per cent to 2.1 million units during the second half of 2020, driven by the more affordable models such as the iPhone SE and price-reduced iPhone 11, and demand for the 5G iPhone 12 series.
However, in contrast, sales of Android smartphones were down 4 per cent to 2.45 million during the same period, despite experiencing growth in the second half of the year.
Telsyte found at least 40 per cent of smartphones sold during the second half were 5G capable, which is expected to be greater than 60 per cent in 2021 as the majority of new mid-range and premium handsets (including those released in 2021) are set to support 5G.
Although smartphones were lower on customers’ agendas, the COVID-19 pandemic spurred increased demand for smart wearable devices, with around 7.6 million and 5.9 million Australians now using smart wrist wearables and wireless headphones.
According to Telsyte, around 2.5 million smart wearable devices were sold during the second half of 2020, up 9 per cent from 2.3 million in the same period of 2019. Wireless headsets – or smart hearables -- continued to be the most popular smart wearable, with 1.3 million sold during the six-month period.
Around 5.9 million smartphone users were using smart hearable devices at the end of December 2020, overtaking the number of smartwatch users for the first time at 4.9 million.