Consumers aren’t flocking to buy mobile phones like they use to. This year it’s estimated that global shipments of mobile phones will decline by 68 million units, or 3.8 percent compared to the preceding year, according to a report released by Gartner last week. The report attributes the lower demand to consumers holding on to their phones longer as well as consumer desire for more innovative advancement in mobile technology. Collectively, global device shipments — including PCs, tablets and mobile phones — will decrease by an estimated 74 million by the end of 2019. Meanwhile, other firms such as eMarketer say smartphone use will increasingly slow down by 2020.
“If mobile phones don’t provide significant new utility, efficiency or experiences, users won’t upgrade them, and will consequently increase these devices’ life spans,” Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner says in a statement.
Another factor that many in the mobile industry attribute to the decline of mobile sales, involves the highly saturated market where consumers are feeling exhausted by the constant stream of new device releases and consequently, see a lack of diversity in the technology. A lack of innovation and incremental benefits are failing to entice new buyers to the market, a better camera and a better connection quality is no longer enough for potential purchasers to reach into their pockets.
To combat this decline, Gartner says, mobile phone manufacturers will try to lure consumers with 5G-enabled in the coming year. In 2023, the firm expects 5G phones could account for 51% of sales, up from a projected 6% in 2020.
However, at the moment, there are only a handful of 5G phones available on the market. These include Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G as well as the LG V50 ThinQ. And 5G networks are only available in limited areas in select US cities for the time being.