Worldwide smartphone, tablet, PC shipments slump in 2019: Gartner

Global shipment rates are expected to tank over the course of this year.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer on

Global shipments of devices including PCs, tablets, and mobile handsets are expected to decline in 2019 but the same doom-and-gloom cannot be said for upcoming 5G smartphones. 

According to Gartner, shipment rates will decline by 3.7 percent over the course of this year, with the smartphone industry -- dominated by players including Samsung, Apple, and Huawei -- the hardest hit with a slowdown of 3.2 percent. 

On Thursday, the research agency said the durability and longevity of premium handsets is a factor in declining sales rates; notably, today's devices are expected to surpass the two-year mark before a replacement is due. 

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When it comes to 5G, however, smartphones that are able to support the next-generation technology are expected to snare a wide margin of the market in only a few short years. 

It may be, too, that consumers are hoping to hang on to their handsets until a 5G-ready smartphone is released by their preferred vendor. 

Gartner expects the 5G endpoint user base to grow from 3.5 million units in 2020 to 48.6 million units in 2023, thereby securing 56 percent of the market. By 2028, sales of 5G-ready handsets are expected to reach 324.1 million units worldwide. 

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"As soon as providers better align their early performance claims for 5G with concrete plans, we expect to see 5G phones account for more than half of phone sales in 2023," says Ranjit Atwal, senior research director at Gartner. "As a result of the impact of 5G, the smartphone market is expected to return to growth at 2.9 percent in 2020."

PCs, too, are on the decline in the same manner as our standard handsets at present, falling 1.5 percent to 255.7 million units in 2019 in comparison to 259.7 million units in 2018. 

Gartner expects demand for consumer PCs to drop by 9.8 percent this year, slicing its full share of the total device market to less than 40 percent. 

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"The collective increase in consumer PC lifetimes will result in 10 million fewer device replacements through 2023," Gartner added. "With the Windows 10 migration peaking, business PCs will decline by 3.9 percent in 2020 after three years of growth."

The device market might not be looking too healthy, but earlier this week, the research agency said that the growth of the social software and collaboration software market will nearly double by 2023

Gartner predicts that the global market for collaboration tools, bolstered by a rise in popularity for social media tools and messaging, will hit $4.8 billion by 2023, an increase from an estimated $2.7 billion in 2018. 

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