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U.S. Cellphone Growth Slows

Boston – U.S. cellphone shipments will be essentially flat in 2014 at 163.4 million units but will grow 4 percent in dollars to $59.5 million because a shift towards more expensive LTE models, Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston told TWICE.

The statistics combine feature phones and smartphones.

 “The growth of LTE is leading to slightly higher retail prices,” he said, “but a lid is being kept on most price rises for now by the continuation of heavy operator subsidies and competition from new entrants, like Alcatel, to compete at reduced price levels.”

Because of slowing growth in the U.S., China will overtake the United States for the first time this year to become the world’s largest mobile phone market by dollar volume, Strategy Analytics said.

Though the U.S. will lose its crown this year as the world’s largest mobile phone market by revenue, Mawston said, “it is important to remember the U.S. remains by far the mobile industry’s most valuable country by profit [for manufacturers].” High average selling prices and “huge operator subsidies” from carriers “continue to make the U.S. a very profitable market for major device brands such as Apple, Samsung and Alcatel,” he said.

In China, Strategy Analytics forecast mobile phone sales will grow 15 percent in 2014 to 429.8 million units compared to 163.4 million in the U.S. and that shipment revenues in China will grow 53 percent to $87.2 billion compared to the U.S’s $59.5 billion.