From great to good to bad to decent again
The tech analyst firm actually focuses more on the latter market than the former category, expecting global mobile phone shipments to slip from a grand total of 1.4 billion units in 2022 and 1.59 billion in 2021 to “just” 1.35 billion copies in 2023.
What’s worse is there are no reasons to expect a spectacular recovery to those record levels from six to nine years ago anytime soon. Instead, the mobile industry could grow slightly to a global sales tally of 1.4 billion units in 2024, 1.47 billion the next year, 1.52 the year after that, and 1.56 billion in 2027, at which point phones will essentially return to their success from… 2021.
We’re obviously talking about new phones here, and one of the main culprits for the market’s struggles is reportedly the rising popularity of… pre-owned phones. The second-hand segment, believe it or not, is projected to generate sales of 330 million units around the world this year alone, with more and more consumers considering used devices not just a great solution to their financial woes but also an eco-friendly alternative to buying a new phone every year.
Brands, regions, and 5G evolution
Unfortunately, this latest research paper doesn’t go into any detail about any specific smartphone vendors, suggesting however that brands “focused on premium” models (cough, Apple, cough) will continue to “benefit from the polarization of the market.”
That’s just a fancy way of saying that people who can afford to buy high-end smartphones will still do so in 2023, 2024, and beyond, while many people who can’t are likely to explore the aforementioned second-hand alternative avenue for the first time.
Apple’s thriving iPhone sales numbers are probably safe for another year… or five.
That’s going to make life (and business) very difficult for manufacturers “targeting the low- and mid-range markets” (we’re looking at you, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Motorola, and so on), as their customers will become more and more “price-sensitive”, aiming to spend less and less money and thus further shrinking those companies’ already modest profit margins.
From a geographic standpoint, certain regions will be affected by the global woes of the mobile phone industry to a larger degree than others, with demand for new devices being expected to continue its free fall in Western Europe and North America while bouncing back in China this year and remaining “stable” in India.
5G-enabled phones, meanwhile, should rise to no less than 700 million unit shipments in 2023, representing more than half of all mobile devices sold worldwide for the first time.
Source: Phone Arena