So what could drive consumers to the stores again for smartphones? The next big upgrade that we’ll see from smartphones is the inclusion of 5G antennas, which analysts expect will be revealed in new models in February 2019.
Even then, however, the rollout of 5G networks will be limited in the United States. Major carriers including Verizon and AT&T have plans to flip on 5G networks in just a handful of cities this year, with a wider rollout of a more advanced version of the technology coming in 2020.
The new standard for connectivity is expected to send smartphone growth back up, according to the Consumer Technology Association, a tech industry group.
While the number of smartphones sold in 2018 in the United States is only expected to grow 1 percent in 2018, the CTA expects 2019 sales will start a new upswing, “with triple-digit increases through 2021.”