The number of smartphones purchased as upgrades will hit a landmark figure this year, while contactless mobile payments will see strong growth. 

One billion smartphones will be purchased as upgrades for the first time in 2015, according to Deloitte, generating over $300 million (€260 million) in sales.

The professional services firm cited research it carried out last year, which found that seven in 10 smartphone owners in 14 developed countries had upgraded their phone in the past 18 months.

[Read more: No major improvement in smartphone battery tech expected “before end of decade”]

Almost a third of respondents in the same survey said they planned to acquire a smartphone over the next 12 months.

In comparison, 21 percent said they planned to buy a laptop and 19 percent said a tablet.

Deloitte said smartphone upgrades happened more frequently than any other consumer device.

[Read more: Tablet growth set for steep decline]

Deloitte added that smartphone vendors should continue to work closely with operators in markets where device subsidies exist to ensure the advantages – notably reducing churn – outweigh the costs.

Meanwhile, it said contactless mobile payments will reach an inflection point this year.

By the end of 2015, Deloitte forecasts that five percent of the base of 600-650 million NFC-enabled phones will be used at least once a month to make an in-store payment.

The company said this compared to less than 0.5 percent in mid-2014.

This “niche adoption” represented major progress, Deloitte claimed, albeit from a small base.

The firm made the pronouncements as part of its Tech, Media and Telecoms Predictions 2015.

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