Mobile phone shipments are projected to fall 4% to 1.34 billion units in 2023, down from 1.40 billion units in 2022, Gartner said. They totaled 1.43 billion in 2021.
That was close to the 2009 shipments level when Blackberry and Nokia phones were the market leaders as Apple tried to dent their dominance. The mobile phone market peaked in 2015 when shipments touched 1.9 billion units.
The pandemic led to a fundamental change where people working from home didn’t feel the need to change phones frequently, Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said in an interview.
“Consumers are holding onto their phones longer than expected, from six to nine months, and moving away from fixed to flexible contracts in the absence of meaningful new technology,” he said.
The demand for smartphones and PCs initially rose during the pandemic, but started to weaken in the middle of the last year.
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Rising global interest rates and cost of living have dampened demand for smartphones, hitting companies ranging from Samsung to Apple. Personal computer shipments are expected to slide 6.8% this year after falling 16% in 2022, the research firm said. Lenovo, HP Inc and Dell are the top three PC makers.
The slump in the devices market will slow in 2023 on expectations of a less pessimistic economic outlook through the year and eventual rise in consumer and business spending, Gartner said.