Global smartphone sales to decline in 2019 before 5G boost next year

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Gartner expect 5G sales to reach 15 million this year

Global smartphone sales will decline by 2.5 per cent this year as the market awaits 5G adoption.

The prediction has been made by Gartner, who revealed that sales of smartphones to end users will reach 1.5 billion units this year.

Despite the decline this year, Gartner does however expect smartphone sales to increase again next year with a wider availability of 5G smartphones anticipated to drive growth.

With a number of analysts expecting Apple to release its first 5G phone next year, this has also been seen as a reason to drive sales.

Gartner research vice president Annette Zimmermann said: “Lengthening smartphone replacement cycles and a ban on Huawei accessing technology from US-based suppliers weakened demand for smartphones in the first half of 2019.

“We expect demand to get even weaker in the second half as replacement of high, low, and mid-end smartphones continues to slow, due to low value benefits.”

So far only a handful of vendors has released a 5G smartphones, including; Samsung, LG, Oppo and Xiaomi and Zimmermann expects this to drive sales in the second half of next year.

Gartner expects 5G smartphone sales will top 15 million units this year, representing less than one per cent of total smartphone sales in the year.

Decline

The markets predicted to see the greatest decline are Japan (6.5 per cent), Western Europe (5.3 per cent) and North America (4.4 per cent).

Gartner senior research director Roberta Cozza added: “In mature markets, the high-end smartphone market is particularly oversupplied and commoditised, with higher average selling prices (ASP) 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.”

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