Worldwide sales of smartphones to end users will total 1.5 billion units in 2021, a 11.4% growth year over year, according to Gartner, Inc.
“In 2020,consumers reduced spending on smartphones but availability of new products, will see users drive significant uptick in demand in 2021,” said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. “The combination of delayed smartphone replacements and the availability of lower end 5G smartphones are poised to increase smartphone sales in 2021.” Gartner analysts expect smartphone sales in 2021 to be close to 2019 levels.
After recording a 10.5% decline in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry, smartphone sales are forecast to rebound in 2021. Mature Asia Pacific, Western Europe, and Latin America are expected to exhibit the strongest growth between 2020 and 2021 (see Table 1).
Table 1. Worldwide Smartphone Sales by Region, 2019-2021 (Thousands of Units)
5G Is the Next Frontier of Growth for Smartphones
The growing availability of 5G networks coupled with a higher variety of 5G smartphones starting at $200 will steer demand in mature markets and China. Demand in emerging countries will be driven by buyers looking for a smartphone with better specifications and a 5G connectivity as an optional feature. Gartner forecasts sales of 5G smartphones will total 539 million units worldwide in 2021, which will represent 35% of total smartphone sales in that year (see Table 2).
Table 2. 5G Smartphone Sales Forecast, 2019-2021, Worldwide (Thousands of Units)
“5G is now a standard feature in premium smartphones, especially in the U.S., China, Japan and South Korea,” said Mr. Gupta. “Driven by lower-cost models, adoption is particularly aggressive in China, where 5G smartphone share is on pace to reach 59.5% in 2021. In addition, lower end 5G smartphones, which are becoming more prevalent outside China, are poised to drive more momentum for 5G smartphones in 2021 across all regions.”
Gartner clients can read more in “Forecast: Mobile Phones, Worldwide, 2018-2024, 4Q20 Update.”
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