Global Smartphone Sales to Grow Over 11 Percent in 2021, Led By Affordable 5G Handsets: Gartner



Gartner, the market research firm, predicts 11.4 percent year-on-year growth in the global smartphone market, with 1.5 billion phones sold in 2021. Smartphone sales took a major hit and witnessed a 10.5 percent decline in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, 2021 is predicted to see a return to former levels, as the markets open up again, with expectations being highest from mature markets. The report also predicts that the user demand for 5G smartphones will increase this year, and will represent 35 percent of the total smartphone sales in 2021.

According to a report by Gartner, smartphones sales in 2021 will rebound to achieve 11 percent growth as compared to a 10.5 percent decline in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report said that mature markets in Asia Pacific, Western Europe, and Latin America are expected to exhibit the strongest growth between 2020 and 2021.

The total number of smartphones sold globally in 2019 was over 1.5 billion (1,540,655,000). In 2020, the number fell to over 1.3 billion (1,378,719,000). Gartner predicts that in 2021, the sales will bounce back to 1.5 billion (1,535,358,000).

“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 market research firm also said that the growing availability of 5G networks, coupled with a higher variety of 5G smartphones starting at $200 (Rs. 14,500) “will steer the demand in mature markets and China”.

“The combination of delayed smartphone replacements and the availability of lower end 5G smartphones are poised to increase smartphone sales in 2021,” Gupta added.

The demand for 5G smartphones in emerging countries is predicted to be driven by buyers looking for a smartphone with better specifications with 5G connectivity as an optional feature. Gartner forecasts that a total of 539 million units of 5G smartphones will be sold worldwide in 2021, which will represent 35 percent of the total smartphone sales in the year. The year 2019 registered a sale of 16 million (16,705,000) 5G smartphones, which increased to 213 million (213,260,000) units in 2020, according to Gartner.

“5G is now a standard feature in premium smartphones, especially in the US, China, Japan, and South Korea. Driven by lower-cost models, adoption is particularly aggressive in China, where 5G smartphone share is on pace to reach 59.5 percent 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,” said Gupta.

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