IDC: Smartphone shipments will drop for the third consecutive year in 2019

According to the IDC’s latest Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, 2019 will see the smartphone market experience its third consecutive year of declining shipments. However, the analyst firm predicts a new high for technological innovation with the introduction of foldable devices and 5G smartphones.

  • Worldwide smartphone volumes are forecast to fall by 0.8% in 2019 with volumes dipping to 1.39 billion.
  • However, the smartphone market will begin to pick up momentum this year with year-over-year growth of 2.3% expected in the second half of the year.
  • Over the long term, smartphone shipments are forecast to reach 1.54 billion units in 2023.
  • 1 out of every 4 smartphones shipped globally by 2023 will be a 5G device

The biggest question that remains unanswered is what will bring the smartphone industry back to growth. There is no question industry growth has been down for reasons that have already been identified – longer replacement cycles, a challenged China market, and geopolitical headwinds – but it is shortsighted to overlook the possibilities of some important technology advancements that are within reach with 5G probably being the most significant.

Ryan Reith, program vice president,  IDC Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers