Prognostication-producers Gartner reckon the disappointing start to 2016 will continue for smartphone makers, with the year to end a mere seven per cent ahead of 2015.
If it's accurate, that would translate to 1.5 billion units for the year – a little over 47 units per second, up from 44 units per second for 2015 (1.4 billion devices).
The medium term isn't any more encouraging: Gartner's given its Babbage Difference Engine a spin and come up with a prediction that even by 2020, the smartphone market will only reach 1.9 billion units.
The heady days of 2010, which saw growth of 73 per cent, are long gone, with smartphones at close to saturation in the USA, Europe, Japan, and what it calls out as “mature South East Asia”.
Sales in China, a happy hunting ground up until 2015, are flattening out. India's now the brightest spot on the map. The 2016 prediction is for 139 million smartphone sales on the sub-continent, up 29.5 per cent on 2015.
The other challenge for vendors is that users are keeping their phones for longer, a trend that's almost certain to continue.
IDC agrees with Gartner, within the margin of error. A couple of days ago, it predicted 2016 sales of 1.48 billion, down somewhat on earlier forecasts. ®