Apple to lead smartphone shipment decline in 2019, but iPhones will see rebound in 2020: IDC
"According to the IDC market forecast, global smartphone shipments will decline 2.2 percent in 2019, before growing again next year"
Apple smartphone shipments will see a steep decline in 2019, but will see a steady rebound of growth in 2020 owing to the rise of 5G, according to market research firm IDC. In its latest market forecast report, IDC states that the global smartphone market may see a decline in overall shipments by 2.2 percent, with iPhones leading the decline with 14.8 percent lesser units shipped in comparison to 2018. The report attributes this to the 2019 iPhones not featuring 5G, as well as "market maturity" that may rise out of a stagnation in the general bearings of the iPhone.
Apple is set to launch its new generation iPhones later tonight, where three models of the iPhone 11 series are set to be unveiled. According to leaks and rumours seen so far, the 2019 iPhones will look largely similar to the predecessor, and feature the same design language that Apple adopted with 2017's iPhone X. While this would mark the third consecutive year for the new iPhone design language, this year's iPhones are expected to feature a large, square camera hump that has drawn a fair amount of mixed reactions from technology commentators across the world.
According to IDC, the advent of 5G will see a revival in both overall smartphone shipments, as well as iPhone shipments. 5G device shipments are expected to reach 123.5 million units, accounting for about 8.9 percent of all devices shipped in 2020. By 2023, IDC expects 5G smartphones to account for nearly 30 percent of all devices shipped, reflecting on the slow adoption of 5G in mainstream segments that is expected by many across the industry.
As for the iPhones, while IDC does not give a specific estimate for 2020 and ahead, the report states that 2020 will be a stronger year owing to 5G iPhones, which is likely to convert into growth in shipments. Apple, IDC says, will focus on camera innovation, 5G connectivity and a new design language in 2020, thereby making the 2020 iPhones a more interesting prospect. The general stagnation of the iPhones have led to longer refresh cycles for the devices, which in turn has been giving Apple a lean spell in terms of iPhone sales.
With the entire world heading towards smartphone saturation, OEMs are slowly shifting their focus on elements such as foldable screens, extreme photography abilities, new designs and so on, in order to provide compelling causes for users to upgrade their devices. With Apple's 2019 iPhone launch set for later tonight, it remains to be seen if the company manages to defy reports such as these, by pulling off a surprise with its devices.