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Report: U.S. smartphone market may have hit saturation point

By James Walker     Jul 18, 2015 in Technology
A report has found that the U.S, public seems to be getting bored of new smartphone launches, leading to a dramatic shrinking of the market in the past quarter. The situation was worsened by poor sales of Samsung's newest devices.
BetaNews reports on the findings of a report by Argus Insights. It looks at global customer reviews and social media posts to find the best and worst products in the market. By looking at around 622,000 reviews from January 2014, the company can work out attention in the market and extrapolate that to indicate demand.
The results are interesting and at times surprising. Only Apple had high levels of consumer mindshare in the second quarter. Samsung's Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge devices raised interest briefly around the time of their launch but failed to increase demand as general interest fell.
Although not at all representative of the company's market share, Microsoft was found to be the "most delightful" manufacturer for the quarter. Despite commanding only a tiny fraction of users compared to Apple and Samsung, those who did try out its Lumia 640 and 535 devices were apparently much more satisfied overall than those who used products from competitors.
Argus Insights' data shows that demand for smartphones has fallen by 8 percent compared with the same period last year. John Feland, CEO and founder of the company, told BetaNews: "The last quarter showed a very dramatic decline in consumer interest in the available smartphones in the US, and even the latest Samsung flagship phones barely made a difference in overall excitement. … It seems at this point, with such a flagging in consumer interest, that perhaps the smartphone market has hit a saturation point."
Feland added that Samsung may fail to reverse the situation even with the launch of its upcoming Galaxy Note 5 phablet unless the device has substantially more to offer than that of its rivals. All things considered, it appears to be a bad time to launch any new devices, with consumer demand heading downwards and new products failing to attract any consumer interest.
It's possible that sales will resurrect themselves in the next few months. Whereas the device launches in the previous quarter failed to inspire, despite the major brands like Samsung, HTC and LG all releasing updated flagships, in September Apple will return with a new iPhone which traditionally draws attention. Microsoft will also be debuting an all-new line of Windows 10 Mobile Lumias around the same time and there are strong rumours of BlackBerry launching an Android device. Perhaps consumers will find something satisfying in the next wave of launches after the disappointment of the first half of the year.
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