Japan to lead APAC in smartphone decline in 2019

5G versions of the iPhone are expected in 2020.

It’s not going to be a good year for smartphones. The global market is expected to dip 2.5 percent year on year, with Japan leading with a 6.5 percent drop.According to Gartner,  worldwide sale of smartphones to end users will total 1.5 billion units in 2019.

However, it expects 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).  The first 5G Apple iPhone is predicted to launch in 2020, which should entice iPhone users to upgrade.

“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,” said Annette Zimmermann, Research Vice President of Gartner.

“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,” she added.

Gartner forecasts that sale of 5G smartphones will top 15 million units in 2019, accounting for less than one percent of total smartphone sales.

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