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.
Qualcomm Inc expects global smartphone makers to ship 450 million 5G handsets in 2021 and another 750 million in 2022, the world’s largest supplier of mobile phone chips said.
Going by Qualcomm’s previous forecast of a range between 175 million and 225 million 5G devices for next year, the 2021 forecast suggests 125% growth from the midpoint of the 2020 outlook.
According to Canalys forecasts, from 2019 to 2023, global shipments of 5G-enabled phones reached 1.9 billion units with an average annual growth rate of 179.9%. The largest market for such devices by the end of this period will be China, which will account for 34% of the segment. At the same time, the share of supporting 5G smartphones in the Chinese market will grow from 17.5% in 2020 to 62.7% in 2023.