Smartphone sales to flatten out in 2018 as devices fail to impress

Smartphone Sales - Man Holding US Dollar

In previous years, mobile phone models saw big differences from one generation to the next.

Smartphone sales are expected to flatten out this year, according to a Canaccord Genuity forecast. Last year, the growth rate reached only 2.7 percent. The Wall Street firm predicts that consumers don’t have many reasons to upgrade this year.

This prediction takes the mobile phone growth rate in a different direction than other respected forecasts.

The Garner market research firm, on the other hand, said that smartphone sales growth would reach almost 5 percent. Still, while the Canaccord Genuity prediction is flat growth this year, it sees a more positive future. It forecasts that the sales growth will return to an increasing direction once again in 2019.

Little to no smartphone market growth isn’t welcome news for device chip makers. Some of the top companies include Qualcomm, Synaptics, Qorvo and Skyworks Solutions. Aside from smaller orders, those companies also risk a shift in their investor base. Low sales could lead smartphone investors to start looking at other suppliers that produce products other than chips. It could, for example, be an opportunity for Universal Display, which manufactures OLED screens, or Micron Technology, which makes memory.

One year with flat smartphone sales may lead to some striking movements within the market.

There are many different areas that investors could find appealing within the broader expanse of the smartphone market. The reason Canaccord Genuity data suggests no mobile device sales growth this year is that consumers don’t have a reason to upgrade. The “wow factor” is absent. Therefore, provided that their devices are still functioning adequately, they are willing to wait.

At the moment, there are few new areas for devices to make revolutionary changes. During the next year, iPhones and Samsung Galaxy devices, for example, won’t be creating whole new types of mobile device. It won’t be the same as when BlackBerry added email to phones or when Apple brought computing to them. Smartphone cameras were also a game changer.

That type of upgrade simply isn’t on its way. Therefore, consumers are not driven to upgrade their current devices. This could leave smartphone sales flat compared to previous years.

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