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Worldwide Smartphone Sales Will Grow 3% in 2020

Strong demand for 5G phones in general, together with expectations of Apple’s first 5G iPhone, will bolster demand for smartphones


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Global Smartphone Sales

Worldwide sales of smartphones to end users are on track to reach 1.57 billion units in 2020, an increase of 3% year over year, according to Gartner, Inc. In 2019, worldwide smartphone sales declined 2%, the first time since 2008 that the global smartphone market experienced a decline.

“2019 was a challenging year for smartphone vendors, primarily due to oversupply in the high-end sector in mature markets and longer replacement cycles overall,” said Annette Zimmermann, research vice president at Gartner. “However, in 2020, the market is expected to rebound with the introduction of 5G network coverage in more countries and as users who may have delayed their smartphone purchases until 2020 in expectation of price reductions begin buying again.”

Gartner forecasts that sales of 5G mobile phones will total 221 million units in 2020 — which will account for 12% of overall mobile phone sales — and more than double in 2021, to 489 million units. “The commercialization of 5G phones will accelerate in 2020. 5G phones costing under $300 have been announced, so sales growth of 5G phones is expected to exceed that of 4G phones over twelve months,” said Ms. Zimmermann.

From a regional perspective, the Middle East and North Africa, mature Asia/Pacific and Greater China (China, Taiwan and Hong Kong) will exhibit the highest growth rates in 2020, at 5.9%, 5.7% and 5.1%, respectively (see Table 1).

Table 1: Smartphone Sales

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Region, 2019-2021 (Thousands of Units)

Region

2019

 

2020

 

2021

 

Eastern Europe

48,468

48,532

49,121

Emerging Asia/Pacific

363,643

376,784

396,394

Eurasia

48,612

50,915

52,860

Greater China

411,351

432,328

426,002

Japan

31,866

32,273

33,027

Latin America

129,830

125,635

122,963

Mature Asia/Pacific

30,095

31,802

31,234

Middle East and North Africa

73,872

78,226

75,604

North America

152,857

155,350

158,618

Sub-Saharan Africa

90,103

91,917

93,169

Western Europe

144,141

147,457

150,206

Total

1,524,838

1,571,219

1,589,198

Read more  Tips on How to Save Battery Life on Your Android Smartphone

Source: Gartner (January 2020) Smartphone Sales

Strong demand for 5G phones in general, together with expectations of Apple’s first 5G iPhone, will bolster demand for smartphones, particularly in Asia/Pacific and Greater China. In terms of smartphone sales, Greater China and emerging Asia/Pacific will maintain their No. 1 and No. 2 positions globally in 2020, with respective sales of 432.3 million and 376.8 million smartphones.

What to Expect at MWC 2020

“Attention at this year’s MWC will be drawn to 5G devices at either end of the price scale, some of which may be revealed before the event,” said Ms. Zimmermann. “The key focus for vendors will be access to 5G and enhancement of the camera technology within devices.”

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