However 5G’s broader availability could give smartphone sales a boost in the second half of 2020.
Worldwide sales of smartphones to end users will total 1.5 billion units in 2019, a 2.5% decline year over year, according to Gartner.
“Lengthening smartphone replacement cycles and a ban on Huawei accessing technology from U.S.-based suppliers weakened demand for smartphones in the first half of 2019,” said Annette Zimmermann, research vice president at Gartner. “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.”
Gartner forecasts that sales of 5G smartphones will top 15 million units in 2019, which will represent less than 1% of total smartphone sales in that year.
However, Gartner analysts expect smartphone sales to grow again in 2020, driven by broader availability of 5G models and the promotion of 5G service packages in various parts of the world by communications service providers (CSPs). Analysts also expect the first 5G Apple iPhone to launch in 2020, which should entice iPhone users to upgrade.
“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,” said Ms. Zimmermann.