Smartphone sales to decline this year as consumers wait for 5G devices in 2020

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With many of the larger smartphone manufacturers releasing quarterly results in the past two weeks, it’s now time for research firm Gartner to weigh in on the sale of devices over the course of the year, and make its predictions for the rest of 2019.

Perhaps unsurprisingly Gartner is forecasting a decline in smartphone sales in 2019 of 2.5 percent year-on-year, with an estimated 1.5 billion devices being sold. The flattening out is easy to predict, considering some of the larger players like Apple and Samsung have both posted sub-par quarters in terms of respective mobile divisions.

It’s been a trend that has been happening for more than a year now, with only a handful of companies like Huawei being able to see continued growth to buck the rest of the industry.

While the outlook for the rest of 2019 isn’t all that promising, Gartner does foresee a swing in the positive direction in the latter half of 2020, with 5G devices in particular helping to aid the sales increase.

“Although leading mobile manufacturers have started positioning their first 5G smartphones (such as the LG V50 ThinQ, OPPO Reno 5G, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G), and CSPs have started to offer some aggressively priced 5G service packages, 5G smartphone sales are set to remain small in 2019. Sales will start to ramp up in the second half of 2020 as the coverage and availability of 5G hardware services improve,” notes research VP at Gartner, Annette Zimmermann.

To give an indication in the slow uptake of 5G devices, Gartner expects sales in 2019 to total 15 million units globally, which represents only one percent of all smartphones sales for the year. This is expected, given the spectrum and network infrastructure to support 5G is still missing in many countries, including our own.

As such it looks like the smartphone industry needs 5G to become more commonplace in order to see an increased demand for devices.

[Image – Photo by dhe haivan on Unsplash]

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.