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Smartphone shipments to hit 1.7 billion by 2022

But first, smartphone shipments will decline in 2018.

Expect 1.7 billion smartphones to ship worldwide by 2022.
Getty Images

A new report from IDC says 2018 won't be the best year for smartphones -- but there's hope for 2019.

The report, out Wednesday, predicts that smartphone shipments will drop 0.2 percent this year, following a drop of 0.3 percent in 2017. However, starting in 2019, shipments will get a bump once again, growing 3 percent annually. 

That growth shakes out to about 1.7 billion smartphones by 2022.

One likely driver of that growth: the introduction of 5G smartphones. The first such phones will become commercially available in the second half of 2019, IDC expects, with 5G devices accounting for about 7 percent (212 million units) of all smartphones in 2020, and 18 percent by 2022.