According to latest estimates from market research firm IDC, global smartphone shipments amounted to 355.2 million units in the third quarter of 2018, marking the fourth straight quarter of negative growth for the smartphone market. For the first nine months of 2018, global shipments added up to 1.03 billion units, down 3.6 percent from the same period last year.
With smartphone penetration reaching saturation levels in many regions and technological advances becoming rarer and less obvious to the average user, it was only a matter of time before the market reached this point. But have we reached the peak of the smartphone era yet? Or in other words: will things only go downhill from here?
The market researchers at IDC don't think so. Attributing the current slowdown at least partly to challenging conditions in the world's largest smartphone market, China, IDC expects the global market to return to modest growth in 2019 before the introduction of 5G devices will drive further growth until 2022.