The increase was reported in the Telsyte Australian Smartphone & Wearable Devices Market Study 2019. It came as the number of Australians using smartphones grew despite device price increases, with about 9.1 million active primary iPhone users and 11 million Android users at the end of 2018. These figures were up from 8.6 million and 10.3 million respectively at the end of 2017.
About 4.6 million smartphones were sold in the second half of 2018, Telsyte said, a fall of 3% from the corresponding period in 2017. The average selling price went up by 13%.
Telsyte said of 1025 users surveyed, nearly one in four (24%) indicated they were waiting for 5G devices to arrive before buying a new smartphone. Another 33% said 5G capability would be an important factor in deciding on their next smartphone.
One in eight Australians between the ages of 16 and 34 — the so-called millennials — had changed or joined a new banking provider because of lack of support for mobile payments. Fourteen percent of Apple Watch users had done likewise.
The company said about nine million smartphones would be sold in 2019, up 1% compared to 2018, as only a handful of Android vendors were expected to release 5G smartphones this year.
However, if Apple released a 5G iPhone at its usual timeframe in 2019, Telsyte predicted that this could lift total sales to 9.4 million, putting growth closer to 6%.
“There is a clear imperative for carriers to bring 5G handsets to market as soon as possible given the lengthening of the replacement cycle,” Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi said.