Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner, said: “Historically, worsening economic conditions had negligible impact on smartphone sales and spend, but this is no longer the case. China and North America smartphone sales are on pace to be flat in 2016, exhibiting a 0.7 percent and 0.4 percent growth respectively.”
The total mobile phone market is forecast to reach 1.9 billion units in 2016.
The shipments for devices including PCs, tablets, ultra-mobiles and mobile phones are expected to increase 0.6 percent to 2.4 billion units in 2016. Spending on devices by end-users in constant U.S. dollars is estimated to decline by 1.6 percent.
Through 2019, 150 million users will delay upgrades to smartphones in emerging Asia Pacific, until the functionality and price combination of a low-cost smartphone becomes more desirable.
This is because prices did not decline enough to drive upgrades from low-end feature phones to low-end smartphones.
Annette Zimmermann, research director at Gartner, said: “Vendors were not able to reduce the price of a ‘good enough to use’ smartphone lower than $50.”
Countries such as India will help generate new mobile phone user growth. Sales of smartphones in India are on pace to reach 29 percent in 2016 and will continue to exhibit double-digit growth in the next two years.
There will be an extension of phone lifetimes among users in the mature markets of North America, Western Europe, Japan and mature Asia Pacific.
The PC shipment market is expected to dip 1.5 percent to 284 million units in 2016. Demand for ultra-mobiles (basic and utility tablets) will decline 3.4 percent in 2016.