The Strategist

Gartner: Smartphone market is slowing down in expectation of 5G

10/02/2019 - 07:19

At the end of 2019, global smartphone sales will drop by a record 3.2%, Gartner analysts predict. Users no longer need to constantly buy new devices, since their service life has grown significantly, and breakthrough technologies have not appeared for a long time. Experts believe that only 5G technology can breathe new life into the market.

Global smartphone sales will decrease by 3.2% by the end of 2019, Gartner analysts forecast. This will be a record drop since the advent of the first iPhone.

At the same time, a month ago, the company's forecasts were more optimistic. In August, analysts predicted a reduction in the smartphone market by only 2.5%, to 1.5 billion devices sold.

Gartner experts explain the negative dynamics of sales by oversaturation of the market. The number of smartphones used in the world has already exceeded the mark of 5 billion devices. In addition, gadgets are becoming more reliable. There is no need to change them every year. Other negative factors include the trade war between the US and China, as well as the scandal surrounding Huawei, which resulted in a collapse in sales of the company's devices in the US market.

The analysts also believe that manufacturers themselves are also to blame for the drop in sales. Over the past few years, they have been improving existing technologies without offering users anything radically new. “Until devices acquire significant new features, users will not want to update their phones,” said Ranjit Atwal of Gartner.

5G is perhaps the only technology that can pull the market out of the crisis, experts say. According to the company's forecast, 15 million gadgets supporting 5G will be sold worldwide this year. This number is less than 1% of the entire smartphone market. However, already in 2020, the share of devices capable of working with the new communication standard will increase to 10%, and by 2023 this figure will reach 56%.

“In order for smartphone sales to return to growth, mobile operators begin to advertise 5G features: higher data transfer speed, improved network availability and increased security... And under the influence of 5G introduction, the smartphone market is expected to return to growth - by 2.9% by the end 2020,” said Mr. Atwal.