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Worldwide Smartphone Sales to Grow 11% in 2021: Gartner

According to Gartner, The sales of worldwide smartphones to end-users will total 1.5 billion units in 2021, an 11.4% growth year over year.

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According to Gartner, The sales of worldwide smartphones to end-users will total 1.5 billion units in 2021, an 11.4% growth year over year.

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“In 2020, consumers reduced spending on smartphones but the availability of new products, will see users drive a 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)

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Region 2019 2020 2021
Eastern Europe 47,358 42,960 49,364
Emerging Asia/Pacific 369,359 336,897 365,891
Eurasia 48,341 43,473 47,261
Greater China 407,449 368,016 409,968
Latin America 131,954 116,301 134,349
Mature Asia/Pacific 31,085 26,311 30,457
The Middle East and North Africa 75,208 71,477 79,112
North America 159,974 136,257 151,750
Sub-Saharan Africa 91,537 84,440 94,293
Western Europe 146,747 125,430 142,796
Japan 31,643 27,159 30,118
Grand Total 1,540,655 1,378,719 1,535,358

Source: Gartner (February 2021)

5GIs the Next Frontier of Growth for Smartphones

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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)

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2019 2020 2021
5G Smartphones 16,705 213,260 538,530

Source: Gartner (February 2021)

“5G is now a standard feature in premium smartphones, especially in the U.S., China, Japan, and South Korea,” said Anshul 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.”

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