Australia - Mobile Communications - Smartphones, Tablets and Handset Market


Smartphones in Australia dominate the mobile device market, accounting for the vast majority of sales. However, the market is subject to seasonal changes, and given that most users are on contracts sales of new devices are also determined by the timing of contract renewals. There has also been a change in the popularity of certain handsets, with a marked shift towards Android based-phones at the expense of Apple, though the latter brand commands a core of devotees which guarantee sales as well as interest in new devices such as the iWatch. The Android platform is buttressed by the large number of manufacturers and styles available, which provides for a wide range of pricing points.

Smartphones, and to a lesser extent tablets, have become central as a means of accessing the internet, particularly among the younger demographic. In addition, these devices are beginning to dominate overall e-commerce, accounting for about a third of e-commerce transactions. This proportion will increase further into 2016 and into 2017 in line with the wider availability of devices with larger screens, more mobile-friendly websites and easier payment systems. In sum, these devices account for a growing proportion of mobile data accessed and of business and commerce related transactions. Smartphone penetration approached 89% by early 2016, and though surveys have shown that about 60% of respondents have a tablet the tablet market has taken a hit since 2015, with a revival in sales largely dependent on consumer interest in the new breed of 2-in-1 devices which provide some of the functionality and memory capacity of notebooks. Overall sales of smartphones fell in the first quarter of 2016, though sales should pick up later in the year and into 2017 as the reach of LTE networks widens: by the end of 2016, both Optus and Telstra are expected to provide 98% population coverage with LTE, while Vodafone already provides about 96% metro population coverage.

Slowdown continues in Australian mobile phone handset market: The market has reached its saturation point and shipments are driven more and more by refresh cycles rather than first-time purchases. There is also growing competition from a range of new smartphone vendors that are challenging the dominant position of Apple and Samsung.

Telstra is losing market share among the 14-17 year segment to mobile virtual network operators, rather than its network operator rivals.

This report provides statistics and an analysis of trends in the Australian handset market. It also details mobile device recycling, as well as industry developments.

Key developments:

Smartphone sales drop in response to market saturation; Telstra enters the wearables market, offering a range of devices; rapid growth in phablet sales impacts tablet market; smartwatch market expected to show strong growth further into 2016; enterprise mobility market increasing in value; tablet penetration approaches 50%; smartphone penetration showing sustained growth; Australian police force adopts tablets on the beat; smartphone market developments, market share, handsets, tablets, recycling of phone materials, 4G/LTE network expansion, consumer use of smartphones and devices; report includes surveys into 2016, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Apple, Nokia, BlackBerry, HTC, Google, Ericsson, Sony, Samsung, Vodafone, 3, VHA, Optus, Telstra, Mobile Muster, Motorola.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Synopsis
  • 2. Market overview
    • 2.1 Trends in mobile handset market
    • 2.2 4G market continues to grow
    • 2.3 Telstra’s T-Hub 2 – moving fixed-line customers to the future NBN
  • 3. Predictions into 2017 and beyond
    • 3.1 Smartphone data usage increasing
    • 3.2 Tablets and e-readers
  • 4. Smartphone, tablet and handset statistics
    • 4.1 Shipments
    • 4.2 Handset recycling
    • 4.3 Handset supplier market shares
    • 4.4 Tablet sales falling
    • 4.5 Smartwatch market
  • 5. Market surveys
    • 5.1 Overview
    • 5.2 Australian teenager smartphone usage – late 2016
    • 5.3 Mobile handset Usage Trends
    • 5.4 Smartphones lead to higher data spend
    • 5.5 Smartphone users are action buyers
    • 5.6 Tablet usage strong but sales decline
    • 5.7 Android remains the favoured operating system
    • 5.8 Enterprise mobility market increasing in value
  • 6. The future of the smartphone market
    • 6.1 Hardware becomes a utility platform
    • 6.2 Platform for innovation and industry transformation
    • 6.3 Breaking into new markets
    • 6.4 Who will dominate the Wi-Fi market?
    • 6.5 Conclusion
  • 7. Wearable technology
  • 8. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Proportion of people using smartphones for internet access – 2012 - 2016
  • Table 2 – 4G subscribers by MNO – 2012 - 2015
  • Table 3 – Internet connections via mobile handsets – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 4 – Australian handset shipments (historic) – 2004 - 2009
  • Table 5 – Australian handset shipments – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 6 – Key recycling indicators – Mobile Muster – 2006 - 2014
  • Table 7 –Australian handset brand market share – major suppliers – 2008 - 2014
  • Table 8 – Estimated tablet users – 2010 - 2012; 2015 - 2016
  • Table 9 – Tablet market share by manufacturer – 2014 - 2015
  • Table 10 – Apps info and payment plan data – 2009 - 2014
  • Table 11 – Monthly phone spend on services – 2010 - 2014
  • Table 12 – Types of use on smartphones – 2012 - 2014
  • Table 13 – Smartphone and tablet use of services – 2014
  • Table 14 – Typical selected usage pattern of a smartphone user – 2011 - 2014
  • Table 15 – Typical selected usage pattern of a tablet user – 2012 - 2013
  • Table 16 – Estimated Australian platform market share – 2008 - 2016

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Number of pages 18

Status Current

Last updated 30 Jan 2017
Update History

Analyst: Henry Lancaster

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