Emerging markets spur smartphone growth

Emerging markets spur smartphone growth

Global smartphone shipments are continuing to grow – and that growth is being led by strong recovery in many emerging markets. That’s the view of market intelligence provider International Data Corporation (IDC) in the latest edition of its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

IDC suggests that shipments of smartphones are expected to grow 7.4 percent in 2021, reaching 1.37 billion units. This will be followed by 3.4 percent growth in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

As for the operating systems used by smartphones, 13.8 percent growth is expected from iOS devices and 6.2 percent growth from Android devices.

The supply chain situation hasn't drastically improved since Covid-19 had its effect on 2020 shipments. The world's largest markets – China, the United States, and Western Europe – will still be down from 2019, but growing markets such as India, Japan, the Middle East, and Africa are fuelling the recovery and the smartphone market has shown positive results in recent quarters.

“The smartphone market was better prepared from a supply chain perspective heading into 2020 given almost all regions were expecting to grow and vendors were preparing accordingly,” said Ryan Reith, group vice president with IDC's Mobility and Consumer Device Trackers.

He added: “2020 was a bust due to the pandemic but all of the top brands continued forward with their production plans with the main difference that the timeline was pushed out.” Inventory levels are therefore healthier than in some other markets – like PCs – and consumer demand appears to be resilient.

5G shipments continue to be a primary driver of 2021 growth, not least thanks to a significantly higher average selling price (ASP) than older 4G devices. The total 5G shipment volume is expected to grow to 570 million units, up 123.4 percent from last year. China will continue to lead the market with 47.1 percent of the 5G global market share, followed by the US at 16 percent, India at 6.1 percent, and Japan at 4.1 percent.

By the end of 2022, 5G units are expected to make up more than half of all smartphone shipments with a 54.1 percent share.