After dropping to a three-year low last year, consumer purchases of smartphones are expected to rebound this year - and Chinese consumers are the main drivers of this upturn, a survey says.
The rebound is fueled by better security, new functions, improved performance and device refresh schedules, according to consulting firm Accenture's report Dynamic Digital Consumers.
More than half (54 percent) of global consumers surveyed say they plan to buy a smartphone this year, up from 48 percent in last year's survey. Chinese consumers are the main drivers of this upturn, with three-quarters (74 percent) of respondents in China saying they intend to purchase one in the coming 12 months - up from less than two-thirds (61 percent) in last year's survey.
Among the consumers surveyed, the leading driver of purchase intent is the ability to access the newest and most innovative features and functions, cited by 51 percent of respondents in this year's survey, compared with only 41 percent last year.
Another reason consumers are opting to buy new smartphones is inadequate performance of their existing devices, cited by 45 percent of customers this year—up from 33 percent last year.
"Improved features and falling prices are key reasons consumers around the world are signaling a desire to buy new smartphones," says David Sovie, global managing director for Accenture's Electronics and High-Tech business. "Growing acceptance of services powered by artificial intelligence, such as voice assistants, is also fueling this market upswing. 2017 will be the year when artificial intelligence goes mainstream in consumer devices."
The survey covers 26,000 consumers in 26 countries. It also shows that consumers are increasingly embracing artificial intelligence capabilities, such as digital voice assistants.