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STAMFORD, Conn. February 3, 2021

Gartner Says Worldwide Smartphone Sales to Grow 11% in 2021

5G Smartphones Are Forecast to Account for 35% of Total Smartphone Sales in 2021

Worldwide sales of smartphones to end users will total 1.5 billion units in 2021, a 11.4% growth year over year, according to Gartner, Inc.

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

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

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)

5G Is the Next Frontier of Growth for Smartphones

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)

 

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 Mr. 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.”

Gartner clients can read more in “Forecast: Mobile Phones, Worldwide, 2018-2024, 4Q20 Update.”

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) delivers actionable, objective insight to executives and their teams. Our expert guidance and tools enable faster, smarter decisions and stronger performance on an organization’s most critical priorities. To learn more, visit gartner.com.

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