But Gartner warned consumers are hanging on to their mobiles for longer than before, with the average lifetime for high-end phones expected to increase from 2.6 years to 2.8 years by 2023.
Shipments of mobile devices will rise 1.2% to 1.82 billion units next year before declining again as consumers hold off on upgrading to the latest smartphone models, consulting firm Gartner predicts in its latest report. For this year, shipments will reach an estimated 2.21 billion; they will then increase in 2020 to 2.22 billion units and then slip to 2.19 billion in 2021. It's thought owners are retiring their PCs but not replacing them.
The introduction of higher-speed 5G mobile phones will drive adoption of the next-generation technology starting next year, per a separate forecast by analytics firm GlobalData. "PC shipments will total 258 million units in 2019, a 0.6 percent decline from 2018". Cellular carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are gradually expanding 5G service across the us over the next few years and debuting high-speed mobile devices to match. Gartner expects that Windows 10 will represent 75 percent of the professional PC market by 2021.
That's expected to change slightly in 2020, with Gartner forecasting a small market growth of 1.2 percent, provided vendors begin to realise that consumers want the lifetime of their phones to extend further than they now do.
The first tranche of foldable handsets were revealed at Mobile World Congress (MWC) earlier this year.
Folding phones are met with polite skepticism, with Gartner predicting sales to account for 5% of the high-end smartphone market-about 30 million units-by 2023.
"We expect that users will use a foldable phone as they do their regular smartphone, picking it up hundreds of times a day, unfolding it sporadically and typing on its plastic screen, which may scratch quickly depending on the way it folds", Roberta Cozza, Research Director at Gartner, said in a statement. As a result, we expect the high-end mobile phone market to continue to show a decline in mature markets during 2019.
The current foldable phones, priced at United States dollars 2,000, present a lot of trade-offs even for early adopters.