The smartphone market will continue to grow, analysts said, but at a slower pace compared to previous years when the gadget's introduction reaped billions of revenue to key global players.
By 2013 and possibly onwards, overall sales of smartphones would be reduced by more than half of its projected turnover in 2012, which Reuters said is an emerging trend largely attributed by analysts to global financial downturns and the changing industry landscape.
The first indicator was evident on Apple's third quarter results, which failed to satisfy market expectation in terms of the number of smartphones that the tech titan had managed to push out in the three-month ending in June 2012.
Only 26 million units were sold by Apple in the last quarter and the company blamed the shortfall to consumers less willing to part with their money for two main reasons - they're hard up for cash or they're waiting for the new handset models to arrive later this year.
Apple admitted that company sales took a considerable hit as struggling economies in Europe and weak recovery in the United States prompted gadget buyers to plan their spending, with most either opting to pause on phone upgrades or acquiring less-expensive mobile phones.
The latter choice hurt Apple the most, analysts said, and in turn favoured its chief rival, Samsung, which unlike the former also sells smartphones that can be had at around $100, valued about twice or even thrice as less when compared to the most basic iPhone configuration.
Arguably, Samsung's less expensive product offerings won the hearts of many consumers, especially in the emerging markets, which analysts said was one of the factors that drove up the South Korean firm's total smartphone haul to reach 50 million at the end of the June quarter.
That reality underscored what experts described as changing market dynamics, which saw hordes of smartphone buyers favouring cheaper handsets that mostly delivered on their prime needs and expectations - web connectivity, style and touchscreen navigation.
While many tech watchers believe that Apple will remain the dominant player that it was despite ceding some grounds to Samsung, analysts said it would be inevitable for the tech giant to implement adjustments lest it would allow more traction on the part of its major nemesis.
Samsung's double-bladed market approach proved to be an effective tool that bested Apple and other competitors already struggling to make a mark in the smartphone industry.
The company's record smartphone sales came at the expense of LG and HTC, Reuters said, which could further push the two to cut down on their retail pricing, a ploy that both Apple and Samsung use on their older models.
Yet even as Apple and Samsung will roll out discounts on their products, they would hardly feel the pinch of the price cuts as their present industry stature serves as a solid buffer against likely pricing wars.
"Apple and Samsung's ownership of the high-tier and intense price erosion means the fight among others will be cutthroat," CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber told Reuters.
Still, Apple's solid footing could not shield the company from altering its business model of sticking to one basic model for each product lines if indeed it is serious in thwarting Samsung's gradual rise, analysts said.
Already Apple has allowed radical change to take place on the manner it offers the bestselling iPad, which if rumours were true could soon see the release of a smaller version of the hugely popular tablet computer.
The move is seen by experts as Apple's way of securing or completing its dominance in the growing industry segment.
It remains to be seen if Apple will employ the same business strategy on its smartphone thrust, meaning it will also produce a mobile handset geared towards the budget-conscious buyers.
That current market area is currently ruled by Chinese mobile handset makers, analytic firm Gartner said, but maybe Apple would want to get ahead this time of Samsung, which recently admitted that it has a long way to go to squarely compete with China giants in the mass-based segment of the smartphone market.
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