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Smartphone Growth Slowing: NPD Group

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — Smartphones sales to consumers continued to grow in early 2015 but at a slower pace than in 2014, The NPD Group found.

The number of units purchased by consumers rose 5.2 percent during the first five months of this year to 45.5 million units, but the full-year 2014 growth rate was 16 percent to 122.4 million.

“Despite the wave of volume increases we have seen from Apple as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus that drove a lot of upgrades, the rest of the U.S. market continues to feel significant maturity issues,” said Stephen Baker, NPD Group’s industry analysis VP for consumer electronics.

Despite the slowdown, carriers’ new early-upgrade plans are encouraging some consumers to trade in their phones more frequently, NPD found. “Consumers who want to trade in quickly (who owned their previous phone less than 18 months) saw a 4 percentage point increase in share [in 2014], indicating that the plans are appealing and driving them to upgrade more frequently, which is the point of the plans,” Baker said.