People use their mobile phones near the entrance to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona February 22, 2014.
People use their mobile phones near the entrance to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona February 22, 2014. Reuters / Albert Gea

Gartner forecast global mobile phone sales to fall 7.1% this year on Thursday, revising its earlier estimate of a growth of 2.2%, citing inflation, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and lockdowns in China.

Mobile phone shipments in 2022 is expected to fall to 1.46 billion units from 1.57 billion, and Gartner's earlier forecast of 1.60 billion.

"I have taken out about 150 million mobile shipment out of the forecast and what that say to you is the lifetimes (of mobiles) are increasing," Ranjit Atwal, senior director analyst at Gartner, told Reuters in an interview.

"For every three months people hold on to their phones, around 150 million units get lost."

Worries of a global recession and high inflation in several countries might influence consumer decisions in spending for discretionary items.

The research firm also expects worldwide personal computer shipments to drop 9.5% in 2022, compared with its earlier forecast of a 4% fall. Lenovo, HP Inc and Dell are the top three PC makers.

The declining PC and smartphone market will not get compensated by automobiles and other areas which will likely result in easing of chip shortage later this year, Atwal said.

Higher demand for smartphones and PCs during the pandemic had led tech companies to place big orders with chipmakers which resulted in shortage of semiconductors that are used in industries including automobiles and telecom.

Mobile phone makers Samsung and Apple saw declining sales in several regions in the first quarter hit by China's COVID-19 lockdowns.

Smartphone shipments are estimated to decrease 5.8% this year and greater China shipment to fall 18.3%, Gartner said.

"At the beginning of the year, the greater China 5G phone market was expected to show double-digit growth," said Atwal.

"The back half of the year is very strong for China but even then its nowhere strong enough to compensate for what has happened."

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