Global Smartphone Shipments To Witness Double-Digit Growth In 2021

Smartphones Various AH Retouch DB20

Global smartphone shipments could see significant growth in 2021. According to a new report from DigiTimes Research, the market could witness a double-digit growth next year, after three consecutive years of decline between 2018 to 2020.

The report adds that the shipment volume could grow by as many as 150 million units globally next year, as compared to this year. Rapid acceleration in 5G adoption, including development in infrastructure and commercial operations, in Japan, Western Europe, the US, and many other markets could be a major driving force behind this growth.

With more carriers and regions flipping the switch on commercial 5G networks, demand for 5G-capable handsets is also rising rapidly. Global shipments of 5G phones are likely to reach over 200 million units this year. Those numbers are estimated to grow exponentially to 1.22 billion units in 2025.

OEMs have also been rapidly reducing the entry price-point of 5G handsets. Realme recently launched the Realme V3 5G in China with a price tag of around $150. At the beginning of 2020, there wasn't any 5G smartphone priced under $300 in the market.

Smartphone chip makers such as Qualcomm and MediaTek have also introduced several mid-range and entry-level 5G chipsets in recent months. That has helped OEMs to make 5G smartphones more affordable. DigiTimes Research estimates global shipment volume of entry-level 5G smartphones as well as 4G smartphones in emerging markets to reach over 1.5 billion units in 2023. The figures may cross the 1.7 billion mark by 2025.

Global smartphone shipments to grow in 2021, Huawei to tumble down

DigiTimes Research expects Samsung to continue leading the smartphone market globally in 2021 as well. Apple will leapfrog Huawei to clinch back the second spot. In fact, the report adds that the beleaguered Chinese giant's shipments will fall steeply next year because of the US sanctions.

Trade restrictions imposed on Huawei by the Trump administration has threatened the survival of the company's smartphone business. It is struggling to acquire components to produce chipsets for its upcoming smartphones. The company expects to sell only about 50 million smartphones next year.

Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, and Transsion are all expected to leapfrog Huawei in the smartphone market next year. Transsion is a China-based company that makes entry-level smartphones under Tecno, Itel, and Infinix brands in Africa and South Asia.

In its forecast report last month, market research firm Canalys said that smartphone shipments will drop by 10.7 percent year-on-year (YoY) in 2020. The firm estimated the market to see a 9.9 percent growth in 2021, with shipments crossing 1.3 billion units globally.