Gartner predicting a flat year for mobile devices in 2019

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As you may or may not know, people are buying fewer mobile devices than they did before. We began seeing this trend in the smartphone space last year, as both Samsung and Apple suffered poor quarters and projected similar, less positive outlooks for 2019.

It turns out those two tech giants are not the only ones who are going to find it tough in 2019, with research firm Gartner predicting a flat year for all mobile devices, including PCs.

More specifically Gartner projects total shipments of devices, which includes PCs, tablets and smartphones, to reach 2.21 billion over the course of 2019. This may sound like a large figure, but it represents a flat year-on-year growth for the market.

The PC segment in particular is going to suffer, with the researchers at Gartner saying that PCs will continue their downward trend the following year, but smartphones are expected to pick up in 2020.

“For the eighth consecutive year, the PC market is at a standstill. PC shipments will total 258 million units in 2019, a 0.6 per cent decline from 2018,” explains Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

“Consumers are increasingly retiring their PCs but not replacing them, with shipments down by another 2.5 million units in 2019. For businesses, the Windows 10 migration continues into the next phase. While the US is now in the final phase, China having delayed their migration, still has a few years to go,” adds the research director.

Shifting focus to smartphones, Gartner points out that consumers are simply not interested in new devices at the moment as the market is fairly saturated with little innovation being shown.

“Users have reached a threshold for new technology and applications, which means that unless new models provide significant new utility, efficiency or experiences, users don’t want or need to upgrade,” says  Roberta Cozza, a fellow research director at Gartner.

Cozza adds that high-end smartphone shipments in mature markets specifically will see a decline over the course of 2019.

That’s expected to change slightly in 2020, with Gartner forecasting a small market growth of 1.2 percent, provided vendors begin to realise that consumers want the lifetime of their phones to extend further than they currently do.

Looking a few years down the line, Gartner also sees foldable devices making an impact. With a handful of manufacturers showcasing devices at MWC 19 this year, the research firm anticipates foldable phones to account for 5 percent of the mobile market in 2023.

“Through the next five years, we expect foldable phones to remain a niche product due to several manufacturing challenges. In addition to the surface of the screen, the price is a barrier despite we expect to decline with time. Currently priced at $2 000, foldable phones present too many trade-offs, even for many early technology adopters,” concludes Cozza.

With the mobile devices market quite saturated at the moment, and prices ever on the increase, it seems as if manufacturers will need to find innovative ways to entice consumers in the coming years.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.