Smartphone shipments on a 15-year high

Smartphone shipments on a 15-year high

As markets continue to migrate toward 5G, global smartphone shipments are predicted to reach 1.38 billion units in 2021, an increase of 7.7% over 2020, setting a new high in the smartphone market since 2015.

This is according to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, which also noted that the smartphone shipments trend is expected to continue into 2022, when year-over-year growth will be 3.8% with shipments totaling 1.43 billion.

The report notes that following the pandemic slowdown in the past year, there has been a strong demand for mid-range and low-end 4G smartphones in emerging markets.

The IDC also notes that the global semiconductor shortage, which has affected a number of industries, has not spared the smartphone market either. However, the impact has been far less than in other markets like automotive, PC, and various consumer tech categories.

Ryan Reith, Program Vice President at IDC said, “The smartphone market returned to growth during the holiday quarter last year and since then we’ve only seen production from top suppliers ramp up. There continues to be a strong supply-side push toward 5G, and price points continue to drop as a result.”

“IDC expects average selling prices (ASPs) for 5G Android devices to drop 12% year over year in 2021 to $456 and then below $400 in 2022. Apple will continue to feel price pressure,” he added.

With 5G smartphone shipments expected to grow nearly 130% in 2021, IDC notes that almost all regions outside of China will see triple-digit growth by the end of this year.

However, in terms of market share, China will lead the way with nearly 50% market share of 5G shipments in 2021, followed by the US with a 16% share. Other significant markets will combine for a 23.1% share of the worldwide 5G market by the end of 2021.

“2021 will represent the largest year-over-year growth the market has witnessed since 2015, as the shift towards 5G across all price tiers continues to accelerate,” said Anthony Scarsella, Research Manager at IDC. 

“The 5G shift will also deliver peak smartphone ASPs in 202, up 9.7% year over year when compared to the remainder of the forecast period as costly 5G devices continue to replace LTE devices, which are also starting to drop in price, down 27% in 2021,” concludes Scarsella.