Since 2007 smartphones have been the single most important tech accessory in all our lives. As a result global handset sales have gone up and up . . . until now.
According to a Gartner Research report in the attached TechCrunch link, global handset sales dropped 5.6% in Q4’17 compared to 2016.
The biggest cause for the decline is the slowing of smartphone tech innovation which gives consumers less of a reason to upgrade to the latest model. (Was that higher def two way camera in the iPhone X really worth spending $1,000 on? Of course not.)
The other contributing factor is the increased quality of lower end handsets. Smartphones are just made better these days, so less breaking of current phones means less buying of new ones.
Obviously the handset manufacturers and Telcos have seen this coming for a while, which is why they’ve begun diversifying their businesses into other hardware products and content distribution.
With the exception of some underdeveloped parts of the world smartphone ownership hit a saturation point around 2016. And now we’re holding on to our phones longer, which is the first step in the eventual sales decline.