Smartphone sales will register their worst ever decline this year before rebounding in 2020

Smartphone sales will register their worst ever decline this year before rebounding in 2020
Because the year's third quarter hasn't even ended yet, we don't have any new smartphone sales numbers to add on top of the market's pretty poor results reported for the first six months of 2019. But Gartner has just come out with an interesting new report that paints a pretty bleak picture as far as future Q3 and Q4 global totals are concerned.

Namely, the reputable market research firm expects smartphone sales to end 2019 with a 3.2 percent decline compared to 2018's overall figures. That would represent the worst year-on-year evolution of the mobile industry since its very inception, beating 2018's slightly lower decline over numbers reported back in 2017 (at least according to some researchers).

Gartner predicts around 1.74 billion handsets (presumably including feature phones in addition to smartphones) will be sold all in all this year worldwide, down from a little over 1.8 billion units in 2018. The good news is all signs are now pointing towards a return to growth next year for an industry invigorated by 5G technology. 

The next standard in cellular connectivity is expected to help boost the aforementioned 2019 total by a solid 2.9 percent in 2020, although only 10 percent of next year's global sales are forecasted to go to 5G-capable phones. That number should then rise at a pretty staggering pace, accounting for more than half of the world's sales by 2023 if Gartner's projections prove accurate.


When looking at the larger picture of the "device" market, including tablets and PCs in addition to mobile phones, Gartner expects an even more substantial decline in shipments of 3.7 percent this year. But 2020's smartphone rebound should be enough to offset yet another dip in global sales for both traditional computers and "ultramobiles." 

Interestingly, the so-called "premium ultramobile" market is on the rise and expected to continue thriving in both 2020 and 2021. Premium ultramobiles include the likes of Microsoft's Surface Pro lineup, Apple's MacBook Air, and convertible machines such as the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, according to Gartner's own glossary

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10 Comments

1. scarface21173

Posts: 700; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

Samsung and apple phone sales should pick up in the coming months with the huawei situation not looking good.

2. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2240; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Bottom line is that products being sold are well future proof to keep for at least 2-3 years before upgrading. Manufacturers need to create better incentives for trade ins year to year. For example, I have a XS Max and if I wanted to upgrade to the 11 Pro Max provide a better trade in credit of $1000 rather than $600. Its that simple. Apple can still accept and refurb my phone by upgrading the screen, changing the battery and small details of getting my phone looking 100% while still making money off customers. They wouldn’t loose hardly anything by doing this.

3. TBomb

Posts: 1549; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Didn't analysts just say the new iPhones are more popular than the others? That ~70million unit decline means Apple goes up (or stays the same) compared to last year and the other main competitors drop 10% or more. Even if we all agreed and said Apple is the best in the world, the general buying trends for the market would say that this is going to be wrong or the analysts a week and half ago are wrong about the 2019 iPhones' popularity. My guess is that the analysts saying the iPhone is popular are wrong. Seems pretty abundant that most people don't like what any OEM is putting out.

4. mackan84

Posts: 544; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

It’s not about liking, more about devices lasting longer. Nowadays we upgrade when our sh** is broken. Our apps still work on a 5 year old device. Used market is still thriving and so on. Apple might get a little swing in countries and get back some of those 7% or so they dropped last year. Mainly because of that $699 price and a lot of people walking around with iPhone 6/6S.

5. mackan84

Posts: 544; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

*western countries

6. chris2k5

Posts: 281; Member since: Nov 17, 2012

And people say Apple is greedy for making future proof phones...I see people with iPhone 6 running latest software milking the $650 they paid for the phone.

7. oldskool50 unregistered

Who claims its gonna rebound? Sales will continue to drop as customers are being forced to a 2 and 3 year upgrade cycle if they choose to buy phones in the US on monthly payments. Outside the US, phones above $750 are going to continue to drop in sales and phone below that price will have a bit of sales increase, but not enough to matter. That fact was shown last year when Apple released the XR, because of its perceived low price over the other 2 models and being new, it sold better but Apple still lost 30M totally yearly sales. The greed of Apple and Samsung is why their sales are dropping and other OEMs who sell cheaper options will take precedence.

8. kiko007

Posts: 7497; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Are you incapable of writing a coherent post without going on tangents that have nothing to do with the topic in question?

11. saddameu

Posts: 15; Member since: Mar 26, 2017

because the market is saturated. Even mid rangers now are good phones and flagship phones prices have gone ridiculous high , it will only continue to decline in the next years

12. AlienKiss

Posts: 192; Member since: May 21, 2019

I was never the type to switch my phones like underwear. Since android first appeared I've had 3 phones (including the current one). - HTC Desire (Bravo) - 3 years - Sony Xperia Z (C6603) - 5 years - Samsung Galaxy S8+ (been using it for 1 year). The positive thing when switching phones so seldom is that the wow factor is waaay more intense and you appreciate the new phone a lot more. After 2-3 years or normal use, I just started to root my phones, debloat them, playing with the CPU frequencies. Basically, tuning the phone to make it last longer. My phones lasted longer that way, and I started learning more about rooting phones, playing with the android os, which in time led me to want to study programming and scripting. My next phone will probably be bought in 2-3 years. I still have 1 year of warranty on my S8+. After that I'll root it and try to extend it even further. It's not that I can't afford a new phone, it's the challenge that I like :)
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