back to article Gartner: RIP double-digit smartphone growth. 2016 has killed you

Remember the rapacious smartphone growth that turned once-troubled Apple into the world’s most valuable company? That’s over. Smartphone sales will grow seven per cent in 2016, to 1.5 billion units. It’s the first time sales of this once must-have piece of personal tech has grown by a mere single digit percentage, according …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Just for comparison, can we see their predictions for the last few years & how they worked out?

  2. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    0.6% growth isn't "flat". Flat is 0%. Besides, 0.6% on 2.4 Billion units is a lot of phones

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      0.6% growth isn't "flat".

      Technically yes. For most of the rest of us in the real world it's near enough as makes no difference.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      According to my local economist, 0% is "irresponsibly trending upwards" and hurts the economy, if that number applies to your savings.

  3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Any fule nose

    Seven per cent in smartphones remains an enviable number, at least for those stranded in PCs.

    When growth declines is when the fight for market share and pressure on margins really starts.

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    What new form factors?

    “The biggest challenge, and potential benefit for the PC market is the integration of Windows 10 with Intel’s Skylake architecture. It has the potential for new form factors with more attractive features,” Atwal said.

    What new form factors then?

    Perhaps Garner has been looking too hard that that huge Surface that MS released this week. Perhaps they think we are all going to rush out and spend $22K (plus tax) on one?

    As has already been asked, what is Gartners success rate with their predictions in recent years?

    And how much did they get paid for this?

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: What new form factors?

      Gartner's sucess rate with their predictions? Don't go there, man, just don't go there... at least not if you have a job with measurable objectives, aka a job where you actually have to get stuff done...

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: What new form factors?

      "What new form factors then?"

      Why do you think all the big IT names want to get into the car business, preferably autonomous cars?

  5. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Who are these morons ?

    And why does anybody give a flying fuck what they think ?

    With pearls of wisdom such as :

    "The analyst blamed falling consumer confidence, saying worsening economic conditions – factors that had had negligible impact on smartphone sales were finally taking a toll."

    No, you idiots. Smartphone sales have eased because (look around you) everybody who wants one has one (any previous slowdown would be where anybody who needs one has one).

    It really is *that* simple.

    cf PC sales. Everybody who wants a desktop PC has one (or two, or three). Speaking for family Page, we have had since 1996, about 6 new PCs. However, our current one was bought in 2010 (and was a 2 year old model then).

    My Smartphone is a Wileyfox Swift. Bought December 2015, and should last 3-4 years. Mrs Pages smartphone is a 2 year old MotoG, and she doesn't need a replacement anytime soon either.

    1. Bob Vistakin

      Re: Who are these morons ?

      Spot on.

      The way I read that article is that there is massive trouble for Apple ahead.

      Not only is everyone skint, they already have a smartphone so aren't stupid. They can see the kind of quality the Android handsets costing half anything Apple has, and the Chinese are pretty much here already with that.

      Apples emperors new clothes scam is finally coming to an end.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who are these morons ?

        The way I read that article is that there is massive trouble for Apple ahead.

        Good point, and people are happy with the phones they have for a couple of years.

        Apple is in a pickle. Their PC business isn't great - it's a niche. iPhones are no longer a "luxury item", when you can buy a iPhone 5 cheaply and it works just fine. Apple has thrived since the iPod by introducing "new" products every so often. iPad Pro Mini 7? Meh.

        Of course, they also have new, who-cares-about-it products, too (Apple Watch, etc.)

        What Apple needs to be doing is shopping new products a lot (maybe on IndieGoGo) and finding new, killer products they want to copy (and pretend are their own idea).

        1. David Lawton

          Re: Who are these morons ?

          You what? Their PC business is not great? I would not say Apple is in a pickle at all. Quarterly revenue just on the Mac's is around 6 billion dollars or you know around 24 billion dollars a year.

          Apple would be extremely well off just on Mac's alone.

          and i'm sure i have read in the last 2 years repeatedly that Apple is the only 1 who is experiencing growth in the PC business where as everyone else is declining.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Who are these morons ?

        The way I read that article is that there is massive trouble for Apple ahead.

        Where do you get this from?

        Apple has so far never had to compete on price and if it does, it has the thickest margins and most loyal customers to play with. The IPhone 5 SE may be its product of this type, though I'm personally not convinced that sales of this particular product will be that good.

        We may well see an elongation of the period people stick with a phone, though as long as these are tied to contract renewals, this seems unlikely.

        No, Apple's biggest threat will come from failing to continue to innovate, or adapt to new technologies.

      3. inmypjs Silver badge

        Re: Who are these morons ?

        "The way I read that article is that there is massive trouble for Apple ahead."

        I don't see that. Their customers were already paying the Cupertino idiot tax so plenty of them are stupid. Plenty of them would also sell their kidneys if that is what it took to buy the next generation iphone so being skint won't make much difference.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Who are these morons ?

      Absolutely agreed. Then there is also the fact that new phones are brought out every year, but we don't get major innovation or must-have features every year.

      It's mostly incremental improvements now.

      Which means the urge to absolutely have to have the latest model is not tickling the majority of people who don't have at least $600 to burn.

      It does kinda put a damper on sales when people massively stop renewing yearly something they already have that is still working.

      1. Loud Speaker

        Re: Who are these morons ?

        I don't know about where you are, but where I am (UK) we are not allowed to have phones with the features we want (LG V10). The networks not only won't allow dual sim phones with removable SD cards and battery, they have somehow prevented the independents from selling them too.

        We know what we want, and they are not selling it to us. If you do that, you can expect a crash in sales. If they want to sell phones, they are going to have to go back to removeable batteries and SD cards, and give us dual sims.

    3. a_yank_lurker

      Re: Who are these morons ?

      If Gartner would bother to look at economic history, automobiles, radios, TVs, computers, smartphones, etc. have all followed a similar sales growth pattern. It is inevitable that the smartphone growth will slow because the market is maturing. Nothing new, just read some history. The only detail is how fast will it take the market to mature.

  6. Darryl

    I think smartphones are getting to the same place as PCs, they just got there a whole lot quicker. Other than the few who still must have the absolute latest model, most people can't see enough of a difference between their current eight core 1080p phone and this year's slightly faster eight core 1080p phone (that's 0.5mm thinner!) to justify spending the money.

    The huge advances in phone technology have all but stopped, replaced by incremental steps, just as PCs did after Intel's Core2 processors came out.

  7. JimmyPage Silver badge

    The way I read that article is that there is massive trouble for Apple ahead

    I heard that on the *BBC* back in October. Although if *I* could manage to sell this "news" as exclusive research, I admit I would.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The way I read that article is that there is massive trouble for Apple ahead

      How does lack of growth in the smartphone market indicate trouble for Apple? So they won't keep having YoY growth, the market has expected that from Apple for several years and been surprised that they've continued to grow. The lack of growth has been priced into their stock for years - that's why they have a P/E of 11 versus Google's at 32 and Microsoft's ridiculously and unaccountably high at 39!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm seriously thinking of not getting another smartphone when the one I have dies.

    I have an xperia pro, it was end of production when I got it & I've had it years, it does what I want it to, most phones I see on the market seem to do what other people want them to.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Still haven't bought one yet

      I'm quite happy with my ancient Nokia dumbphone. For everything else, there's a netbook (original Asus eeePC 701 no less) or laptop.

  9. Tikimon

    UI design racing backward isn't helping

    It's really not helping that tech devices are becoming harder to use, not easier. Unlabeled icons, constant rearranging of menus every "update", and other poor UI choices screw users instead of giving them claimed benefits. But hey, marketing says it's gotta be different, even if it's worse.

  10. another_vulture

    Math, again.

    1.5 Bn phones /yr, retention time average of 2.5 yr = steady state of 3.75 Bn phones. Total world population is currently 7.4 Bn people, including all men, women, and children in all countries. Thus, the current phone production rate provides for one phone for every 2 people in the world. Why, exactly, does anyone think the production rate will increase? Either the market penetration must increase (a phone for every infant in India?) or the retention time must decrease. But as phone technology matures, retention times will increase, not decrease.

    1. Loud Speaker

      Re: Math, again.

      Pretty soon all dogs and cats will have three phones each as well.

  11. Mikel

    Great news

    Now the cutthroat pricing begins. More value for your smartphone spend as makers fight for share. Less bogus "sold out" marketing and scarcity pricing.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Once "msut have" piece of personal tech?

    Even with sales flattening, selling 1.5 billion a year makes it still "must have" by any reasonable definition.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like