UK smartphones sales up by almost a quarter in the last year

Global value of smartphones also soared by 10% to over £250 per handset

Almost 400 million smartphones were sold globally in the fourth quarter of 2017, data from analyst house GfK has revealed.

While that sounds like a huge amount, it is only a one percent increase on the same quarter the year before. Nevertheless, demand was apparently primarily driven by Middle East and Africa, which experienced an eight percent growth, and Central and Eastern Europe, where sales saw a seven percent increase overall.

While sales grew by just one percent year on year across the world, the average price of the handsets rocketed by 10 percent globally, to $363 (about 256) per handset, which according to GfK, was its fastest quarterly growth rate to date.

Global Director of PoS telecom research at GfK, Arndt Polifke, said the increased sales value year-on-year in the last quarter of 2017 is "exceptional growth" for such a mature technology category.

"This came as the proliferation of smartphones with larger and bezel-less displays incentivized consumers to purchase more expensive devices," he added.

As for Western Europe, smartphone sales dropped, totalling 37 million units in the quarter, which was down three percent year-on-year. However, despite this unit decline, sales value increased by a whopping 17 percent, fuelled by a massive 24 percent value growth in the UK and 19 percent value growth in France.

GfK analysts said the outlook for the region [Western Europe] in 2018 is all-in-al "positive", with demand expected to rise by one percent to total 126.4 million units next quarter.

As for the US and Canada, the countries saw a demand growth of six percent year-on-year in the last quarter, its highest growth in over two years. Sales value increased by four percent to $28.5 billion and as a result, sales in 2017 rose two percent compared to 2016, totalling 201.3 million units. However, GfK said this recent upturn is not expected to last, and forecasts demand to be flat in 2018 compared to 2017 in this region.

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