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2019 Phone, Tablet & PC Shipments Down 3.7%

The Gartner institute has released its worldwide device shipments forecasts for 2019, revealing a 3.7% decline in  PCs, tablets and mobile phones.

Ranjit Atwal, senior research director at Gartner, predicts the smartphone market is hitting a tipping point as more and more consumers hold on to their phone longer, which will result in a 3.2% decline in the smartphone market for 2019.

Gartner estimates there are over five billion mobile phones currently being used around the world, and unless new devices’ provide significant new utility, efficiency or experiences’ phone upgrades are unlikely.

Coupled with the extension of premium phone lifecycles, continuing to increase through 2019, as quality and features improve significantly.

Users see high value in their device beyond a typical two-year time frame, even with the looming rollout of 5G around the world, and in Australia.

5G-capable phones are predicted to increase from 10% in 2020 to 56% in 2023, matching research from the Telsyte’s Australian Smartphone & Wearable Devices Market Study 2019-2023.

Telsyte suggested the lack of a 5G iPhone affected smartphone demand prolonging the iPhone replacement cycle, with evidence pointing to a ‘supercycle’ in 2020, as consumers replace their 4G handsets.

Phone-makers will reignite sales by adding 5G handsets to ‘boost replacements of existing 4G phones’, said Mr Atwal.

However, he suggests in the next five years less than half of the worldwide service providers will have launched commercial 5G networks.

In Australia, Optus and Telstra have already begun constructing infrastructure for their respective 5G offerings, with network coverage already in major population areas.

PC shipments totalled 63 million units, a growth of 1.5% for Q2 2019, and are estimated to total 256 million units for 2019, a decline of 1.5% from 2018.

Much like the current smartphone market threshold, PC lifetimes will result in 10 million fewer device replacements through to the year 2023 thanks also to improved technology and available features.

The consumer PC market is set to reduce its share of the total market to less than 40% as the PC landscape changes.

Gartner is unsure whether external economic issues are to blame for the uncertainty in PC demand over the years.

Mr Atwal highlights that PC vendors need to cope with the potential of increased tariffs or the effect of Brexit on their business model.

He suggests a move to annual service income, ‘rather than the peaks and troughs of capital spending’ will ensure the longevity of the market going forward.

Business PCs will also decline by 3.9% in 2020 as Windows 7 to 10 migration reaches its peak, following three years of growth.

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