Worldwide sales of smartphones to end users will total 1.5 billion units in 2019. This is a 2.5% decline, year over year, according to Gartner.
However, analysts say that smartphone sales are expected to grow again in 2020. This will be driven by the broader availability of 5G models and the promotion of 5G service packages in various parts of the world by communications service providers (CSPs). Additionally, analysts also expect the first 5G Apple iPhone to arrive in 2020, which should entice many current iPhone users to upgrade.
According to research vice president at Gartner, Annette Zimmermann said that lengthening smartphone replacement cycles and the ban (even though partially lifted) on Huawei accessing technology from USA based suppliers weakened demand for smartphones in the first half of 2019. She further expects demand to get even weaker in the second half as replacement of high-, low-, and mid-end smartphones continues to slow because of their low value benefits.
The worst declines in the sale of smartphones will be experienced by Japan (-6.5%), Western Europe (-5.3%) and North America (-4.4%) in 2019. Roberta Cozza, senior research director at Gartner says “In mature markets, the high-end smartphone market is particularly oversupplied and commoditized, with higher average selling prices (ASPs) and no compelling new utility or experiences for users to upgrade to. Despite ASP increases on high-end smartphones slowing down recently, the vendors who primarily rely on replacement smartphone sales continue to face tough times.”
Although leading mobile manufacturers have already started to position their first 5G smartphones (such as the LG V50 ThinQ, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and Oppo Reno 5G), and CSPs are at work offering aggressively priced 5G service packages, the sale of 5G smartphones is set to remain small in 2019. Gartner forecasts that sales for 5G smartphones will top 15 million units in 2019, which represents less than 1% of the total smartphone sales for the year.