Despite All the Buzz, 5G Smartphones Will Not Capture a Large Piece of the Market for 2019, Claims Latest Report
Smartphone shipments have steadily been declining since the past few years and in the hopes of turning things around, smartphone makers are betting on innovations such as foldable handsets. Moreover, the impending arrival of 5G is also expected to drive growth in the market. If a recent report by the research firm IDC is anything to go, things will start looking up soon, even if the increase in shipments will not be seen immediately.
4G Handsets Are Expected to Continue to Reign Supreme in the Coming Years
As per IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, overall shipments are expected to fall by 0.8 percent this year, making 2019 the third consecutive year to see a downward trend. However, a year-over-year growth of 2.3 percent is expected in the second half of the year, and the uptick is expected to continue thereafter until 2023. The firm speculates shipments of 1.39 billion units this year, which are projected to increase to 1.54 billion by 2023.
Although IDC notes that sales will be boosted by innovations such as foldable smartphones and 5G-ready devices, its data shows that 5G rollout and adoption will be painstakingly slow. This year, 5G-based handsets are expected to account for just 0.5 percent of the total smartphone sales. By 2023, the market share of 5G-enabled smartphones is speculated to go up to 26 percent. On the other hand, 4G handsets are expected to be the most mainstream devices for the next five years.
Of course, things can change moving forward. Qualcomm recently announced that its next flagship chipset will come with a built-in 5G modem, which will make the new standard of wireless connectivity a default function of most Android flagships. Moreover, as time goes by, the cost of 5G handsets will come down, and this can increase adoption rates.
Since IDC has broken down its shipment forecasts according to cellular connectivity, there is no data about foldable phones. However, with most manufactures expected to produce limited numbers of their flexible devices, it can be assumed that the adoption is going to be slow. Overall, the forecast looks good for the industry, which has been grappling with a decline for three years.
IDC expects smartphone sales to gain momentum from the second half of the year and the upward trend is expected to continue into 2023.