Global smartphone shipments to grow 5.5% in 2021, says IDC

  • The international smartphone market is speculated to provide a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.6 percent.
  • 5G smartphone shipments to account for more than 40 percent of global volume in 2021 and grow to 69 percent in 2025.

With the massive demand and adoption, smartphone shipments are now expected to touch 13.9 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2021 and 5.5 percent for the full year 2021, claims international research firm IDC. In the forecasted period of 2020-2025, the global smartphone market is speculated to provide a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.6 percent, according to IDC. 

 Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, said: “Despite ongoing lockdowns and economic concerns, IDC continues to see strong demand for smartphones. We are also seeing that everyone in the value chain – from supply chains, OEMs, and channels to consumers – is better prepared to handle any further lockdowns. IDC has seen accelerated growth in online channels, climbing to a 30 percent share in 2020 from just 22 percent the prior year, as channels adapt to the pandemic lifestyle. Ramp ups in production and improved channel planning combined with strong pent-up demand are all pointing to healthy growth in the months ahead.”

By 2021, the US and China world’s biggest markets are expected to grow in this domain to 3.5 percent and 6.0 percent respectively. Even in January 2021, many of the global markets were under strict lockdown. In spite of that the markets of China remained very stable, which showcase the power of consumer confidence there. Despite a 10-11 percent year-over-year decline for both markets in 2020 amidst the pandemic, 5G development and the success of the recently launched iPhones are expected to boost shipments in 2021.

Source: IDC

5G remains the driving factor in the industry, accelerated further by the success of Apple’s full 5G iPhone 12 line up. IDC expects 5G smartphone shipments to account for more than 40 percent of global volume in 2021 and grow to 69 percent in 2025. Both factors have helped to increase the overall average selling price (ASP) for smartphones to $363 in 2021, up from $349 in IDC’s previous forecast. In regards to 5G ASP specifically, increasing competition in the 5G Android space, particularly from Chinese vendors, will bring downward pressure on 5G ASPs, which are expected to drop to $404 by the end of the forecast period in 2025.

“The strong performance in the last quarter of 2020 has led to a huge push from all OEMs to increase production. Although this may create some temporary challenges in production, we do not foresee any significant gap as the manufacturers successfully cope with the ramp up,” said Sangeetika Srivastava, senior analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. “On the other hand, this is likely to intensify the pressure on smaller vendors as larger vendors are given priority by ODMs, making it harder for them to obtain targeted volumes.”

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