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Australian smartphone sales shrink but Android still in front

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Australians are buying more smartwatches and wearables while sales of smartphones have slowed down, according to research from technology firm Telsyte.

The Telsyte Australian Smartphone and Wearable Devices Market Study 2018-2022 revealed 4.3m smartphones has been sold in Australia in the first half of 2018.

This is down from the 4.4m sold in the same period in 2017 – a reduction of 3.7 per cent.

Android continues to be the most popular smartphone operating system with 53 per cent despite the fact that sales of Android devices dropped by 7 per cent.

Apple’s iPhones make up the other 47 per cent after a two per cent increase.

“Android smartphone sales had a sobering first half in 2018 after a strong upgrade year in 2017” Telsyte Senior analyst, Alvin Lee said.

“The balance of 2018 could remain in favour of Apple with more iPhone users expected to be coming out of contract this year.”

Apple sold the most devices in Australia in the first half of 2018 followed by Samsung, Huawei and Oppo, according to Telsyte.

The research also revealed Australian smartphone shoppers were leaning towards premium devices with more flagship products purchased so far in 2018.

More than half (55 per cent) of iPhones purchased so far in 2018 were the higher end models – iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

One third of smartphones purchased outright were priced at more than $800.

Some customers are even holding off buying a new smartphone this year and holding out until 5G devices are available.

Telsyte’s study shows that one in three customers are hanging back for 5G smartphones.

And most of the those who are willing to wait already own a premium handsets like the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8 and S9.

Nearly half (47 per cent) of iPhone users that intend to buy a new iPhone in 2019 said they were likely to wait until a 5G phone became available.

“The arrival of 5G will create the next big upgrade event” Telsyte Managing Director, Foad Fadaghi says.

“Carriers will be hoping 5G smartphones are available ahead of their network launches, if not soon thereafter.”

Smartwatch sales in Australia are on the rise with 680,000 sold in the 1H18 – up by more than 80 per cent from 1H17.

Apple continues to dominate the smartwatch market with Apple Watch making up more than half of all units sold.

But other brands like Fitbit, Samsung and Garmin are also all starting to enjoy growth thanks to customer awareness.

Apple Watch had the highest repeat purchase intention at 80 per cent followed by Garmin at 60 per cent.

Smart accessories like Apple’s AirPods have also been a popular purchase for iPhone customers with Telsyte estimates of sales at around 800,000 since launching at the end of 2016.