When Apple lowered iPhone sales expectations this week, something highlighted by the data has long been noted: the saturation of the mobile phone market, which after several years of exponential growth, seems to be touching the ceiling.
"Fewer customers upgraded their phones compared to what we expected, some users took advantage of our significant discount in the price of battery replacement", said Steve Jobs's successor at the helm of the company.
Large-scale data confirms Cook's observation: the mobile market is no longer growing as before and, for example, in the second quarter of 2018 (the latest for which data is available globally) sales of smartphones worldwide fell by 1.8% compared to the same period in 2017.
To Apple, Samsung, the other titanium of mobile phones also experienced problems last year with its Galaxy S9 model, which had a cool reception among consumers.
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) that produces these reports, during the three months of 2018, 342 million mobile phones were sold on the planet, compared with 348.2 million a year earlier, which meant a third consecutive quarter of the falls of internationals.
"The combination of market saturation, rising penetration rate and ever-higher average selling prices have reduced the growth of the entire market" says IDC researcher Anthony Scarsella.
According to the expert, given that Many users pay more for their phones due to the price increase that several manufacturers are betting onThey expect their new appliances to have a longer lifespan than previous models and are more willing to change.
This trend is confirmed by a study conducted by Hyla Mobile Inc. according to which mobile phone users take more time to change their device to a new model, which is the current average time during which the iPhone device is stored in the United States, for example, from almost 3 years.
In 2017, this average of "Life" for Apple phones was 2.37 years old, while in the case of mobile phones with an Android operating system, it went from 2.44 years on average in 2017 to 2.66 a year later.
When in his letter to investors Cook mentioned the low price of batteries, he referred precisely to the fact that over the past year, many Apple customers, They preferred to change the battery of the phone, instead of buying one of the new models.
It helped the company based in Cupertino (California) to lower the price of the battery from $ 79 to $ 29 during 2018, in response to complaints from users who accused it of slowing down the work of old phones.
Apple has blamed a large part of the decline in their expectations of economic downturn in China, where, despite saturation in the market, another factor seems to be emerging against them: rising prices.
The company has gradually raised prices on its phones over recent years, what made the iPhone become an almost luxurious device in certain markets.
In China, for example, Apple's phone is the most expensive in the market, so in times of increased economic uncertainty, many customers have opted for cheaper alternatives and benefits in many cases almost identical.
The iPhone XS and XS Max represented in 2018, for example, they do not represent significant changes in relation to the model of the previous year, and in turn are similar to many other phones from different brands.