Worst smartphone sales crash ever predicted for 2019

Worldwide shipments of smartphones are set to shrink by 3.2%, according to the latest predictions from Gartner, Inc.

The forecast estimates total shipments of about 1.74 billion in 2019, down from 1.81 billion in 2018, making it the worst decline this category of devices has seen.

“This is due to consumers holding onto their phones longer, given the limited attraction of new technology,” said senior research director at Gartner, Ranjit Atwal.

Gartner also attributes the fall to the improved lifetimes of premium Android and iOS-based smartphones, thanks to better features and higher-quality devices.

Smartphone users now seem to keep their handsets for longer than two years.

“Unless the devices provide significant new utility, efficiency or experiences, users do not necessarily want to upgrade their phones,” said Atwal.

Growth in 5G-capable smartphones

Gartner further estimated that the market share of phones equipped with 5G will increase from 10% in 2020 to 56% by 2023.

“The major players in the mobile phone market will look for 5G connectivity technology to boost replacements of existing 4G phones,” said Atwal.

The impact of 5G technology will be bigger than the smartphones themselves, Gartner predicts.

Atwal stated that premium ultramobile devices may even incorporate 5G capabilities as a selling point to consumers.

PC device shipments also suffer

Shipments of PC devices are predicted to drop by 1.5% from 260 million units in 2018 to 256 million in 2019.

Gartner’s estimations also indicate a 9.8% fall in the consumer PC market in 2019 and that by the year 2023, 10 million fewer PCs will be replaced, resulting from the “collective increase in consumer PC lifetimes”.

“The consumer PC market requires high-value products that can meet specific consumer tasks, such as gaming. Likewise, PC vendors are having to cope with uncertainty from potential tariffs and Brexit disruptions. Ultimately, they need to change their business models to one based on annual service income, rather than the peaks and troughs of capital spending,” Atwal said.

Combining the decreased shipments of PCs and tablets with smartphones, puts the total reduction in shipments of devices at 3.7%.

The table below shows the shipments of devices from 2018 to shipment predictions made by Gartner for the next following three years.

Worldwide Device Shipments by Device Type, 2018-2021 (Millions of Units)
Device Type 2018 2019 2020 2021
Traditional PCs (Desk-based and Notebook) 195.3 188.4 177.9 169.2
Ultramobiles (Premium) 64.4 67.3 71.8 76.4
Total PC Market 259.7 255.7 249.7 245.6
Ultramobiles (Basic and Utility) 149.6 140.9 137.3 135.7
Computing Device Market 409.3 396.6 387 381.3
Mobile Phones 1,813.40 1,743.10 1,768.80 1,775.50
Total Device Market 2,222.70 2,139.70 2,155.80 2,156.80

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Worst smartphone sales crash ever predicted for 2019