IDC is out today with a new forecast for the smartphone industry during the second half of 2019 and the beginning of 2020. For Apple specifically, IDC predicts that 2019 will be a “challenging year for iPhone shipments,” due in some part to the expectation that the iPhone 11 won’t support 5G.

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On an industry-wide basis, IDC expects smartphone shipments in 2019 to fall 2.2 percent compared to 2018. In 2020, however, the firm predicts that shipments will grow by 1.6 percent. IDC attributes this in large part to new 5G smartphones:

2020 looks to be the year where 5G begins to ramp up. IDC expects 5G shipments to reach 8.9% of smartphones shipped in 2020, accounting for 123.5 million devices shipped. This is expected to grow to 28.1% of worldwide smartphone shipments by 2023.

For the iPhone, IDC writes that it expects shipments of 177.9 million in 2019, which is down 14.8 percent year-over-year. This can be attributed to “market maturity” as well as a lack of 5G devices. However, IDC believes that when Apple adopts 5G in 2020, it will have a better understanding of market conditions than competitors, propelling iPhone shipments:

2019 will remain a challenging year for iPhone shipments with volumes expected to drop to 177.9 million, down 14.8% year over year, mostly due to market maturity as well as a lack of 5G devices. However, Apple is likely to deliver 5G handsets later in 2020, which will pick up iOS volumes slightly as it will have an edge over other vendors with a better understanding of 5G market conditions for a much more planned launch.

Just last week, Ming-Chi Kuo issued a new investor note on the 2020 iPhones. Kuo said that Apple will likely focus on an all-new design, 5G connectivity, and improved cameras. Meanwhile, Apple is set to debut the 2019 iPhone 11 tomorrow.

Read the full IDC report here.


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