Gartner latest analysis of worldwide sales of smartphones pegs the total at 1.5 billion units in 2019, a 2.5% decline year over year, . However, according to the analyst firm, smartphone sales will grow again in 2020, driven by broader availability of 5G models and the promotion of 5G service packages. Analysts also expect the first 5G Apple iPhone to launch in 2020, which should entice iPhone users to upgrade.
- Lengthening smartphone replacement cycles, low value upgrade benefits and a ban on Huawei accessing technology from US-based suppliers weakened demand for smartphones in the first half of 2019.
- Although manufacturers have started positioning their first 5G smartphones and operators have started to offer some aggressively priced 5G service packages, 5G smartphone sales are set to remain small in 2019. Gartner forecasts that sales of 5G smartphones will top 15 million units in 2019, less than 1% of total smartphone sales in that year.
- Japan (-6.5%), Western Europe (-5.3%) and North America (-4.4%) are set to exhibit the worst declines in sales of smartphones in 2019.
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.
Roberta Cozza, senior research director at Gartner