"The biggest question that remains unanswered is what will bring the smartphone industry back to growth," said Ryan Reith, program VP with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. "There is no question industry growth has been down for reasons that have already been identified – longer replacement cycles, a challenged China market, and geopolitical headwinds – but it is shortsighted to overlook the possibilities of some important technological advancements that are within reach with 5G probably being the most significant."
The current year is expected to witness a new high for technological innovation with the introduction of foldable devices and 5G smartphones. Marketing buzz around 5G is in its early stages but expected to ramp up quickly. And while use cases for upgrading to a 5G device/service remain unclear, it is evident that after 2019 the adoption will begin to attain significant numbers. IDC currently expects 5G smartphone shipments to account for roughly 1 out of every 4 smartphones shipped globally in 2023.
"Though the 5G developments and foldable screen buzz is yet to have a reality check from users, 2019 will be surely marked as a year of modernization in the smartphone market," said Sangeetika Srivastava, senior research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.
|Worldwide Smartphone Platform Shipments, Market Share, and Year-Over-Year Growth, 2019 and 2023 (shipments in millions)|
|Generation||2019 Shipment Volume*||2019 Market Share*||2019 Year-Over-Year Growth*||2023 Shipment Volume*||2023 Market Share*||2023 Year-Over-Year Growth*|
|Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, February 22, 2019|