Tech Trends

5G to Bring About Resurgence in Smart Phone Growth

Smart phones will continue to decline for the third straight year in 2019, but the advent of 5G will help propel mobile device growth at least through 2023, according to a new market forecast.

According to a report released by IDC, smart phone shipments will decline slightly in 2019 compared with 2018, off 0.8 percent to 1.39 billion devices shipped worldwide. But new innovations, such as foldable screens and 5G, will help drive single-digit growth for the next four years.

According to IDC: “The current year is expected to witness a new high for technological innovation with the introduction of foldable devices and 5G smartphones. Marketing buzz around 5G is in its early stages but expected to ramp up quickly. And while use cases for upgrading to a 5G device/service remain unclear, it is evident that after 2019 the adoption will begin to attain significant numbers. IDC currently expects 5G smartphone shipments to account for roughly 1 out of every 4 smartphones shipped globally in 2023.”

In 2019, 5G phones will account for just 0.5 percent of all phone shipments, or 6.7 million units. By 2023, they will account for 26 percent of shipments, or 401.3 million units.

5G phones will experience an annual growth rate of 23.9 percent over the forecast period of the report, while 4G phones (the current generation) will decline 4.4 percent annually.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).


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