Gartner sees phone shipments returning to growth next year

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Worldwide phone shipments are expected to grow again next year after shrinking in 2016, according to fresh data from Gartner.

The market research firm said overall mobile phone shipments are on pace to decline 1.6 percent this year as markets around the world reach saturation and as handset upgrade cycles have lengthened. Smartphone shipments will increase only 4.5 percent this year, Gartner predicted, with premium smartphones declining 1.1 percent.

“This is no surprise; the smartphone market is maturing, and reaching global saturation with phones that are increasingly capable and remain good enough for longer,” Gartner Research Director Roberta Cozza said in a prepared statement. “We expect the market for premium smartphones to return to 3.5 percent growth in 2017, as stronger replacement cycles kick in and in anticipation of a new iPhone next year, which is expected to offer a new design and new features that are attractive enough to convince more replacement buyers.”

Meanwhile, several major handset vendors offered a glimpse of their recent performances in advance of third-quarter earnings results. Cnet reported that Samsung said it expects to report an operating profit of $6.9 billion during the period, up from 5 percent during the same period last year, which would indicate the Korean company was able to at least temporarily minimize the damage done by reports of overheating batteries in its Galaxy Note 7.

Meanwhile, LG said it expects to report a profit decline of nearly 4 percent, Mobile World Live reported. The company predicted it will post a quarterly operating profit of $252 million and would see a 5.8 percent slide in year-over-year sales.

Finally, HTC said September revenues were 41 percent higher than they were in August, and were the highest monthly revenue figure the company has seen since November 2015, Phandroid reported. While the company didn’t discuss reasons for the increased sales, one likely reason is payments from Google for the upcoming Pixel, which will hit retail stores in the coming weeks.

For more:
- see this Gartner release

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