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Gartner: 5G phones will represent half of all device sales by 2023

Jasper Hart
July 17, 2019

Mobile sales to decline the most out of all device types in 2019

5G-enabled smartphones will represent more than half of the global smartphone market in 2023, according to new research from Gartner.

The analyst firm estimates that this will be an increase on just six per cent in 2020, but that the phones will have to be differentiated by their integration with other devices in a smart manner, rather than just the basis of 5G alone.

“In 2020, 5G-capable phones will represent 6 per cent of total sales of phones. As 5G service coverage increases, user experience will improve and prices will decrease. The leap will occur in 2023 when we expect 5G phones to account for 51% of phone sales,” said Gartner research director Ranjit Atwal.

However, this growth will come amid the overall decline in sales of smartphone devices this year. Gartner estimates that worldwide shipments of PCs, tablets and mobile phones will decline by 3.3 per cent year-on-year in 2019, with mobile shipments decreasing the most, by 3.8 per cent.

Of mobile phones, smartphone sales will decline by 2.5 per cent, which Gartner is calling the worst decline in sales ever. Smartphone life spans will also increase from 2.6 years to 2.9 years through 2023.

“The current mobile phone market of 1.7 billion shipments is around 10 per cent below the 1.9 billion shipments reached in 2015,” said Atwal. “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.”

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