5G smartphone sales to reach 221 mn units in 2020: Gartner

Research firm Gartner forecasts that sales of 5G smartphones will reach 221 million units in 2020, representing 12 percent of overall mobile phone sales — and more than double in 2021, to 489 million units.
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“The commercialization of 5G phones will accelerate in 2020. 5G phones costing under $300 have been announced, so sales growth of 5G phones is expected to exceed that of 4G phones over twelve months,” said Annette Zimmermann, research vice president at Gartner.

As more 5G networks go online and reach larger parts of the subscriber base, 5G services will help position 5G-enabled handsets as attractive upgrades to existing phones in advanced markets, according to IHS Markit | Technology.

5G smartphone demand in 2020 is expected to reach 253 million units, said Jusy Hong, smartphone research and analysis director at IHS Markit | Technology.

Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, Huawei, Lenovo, vivo, OPPO and ZTE are gearing up to grab share in the global 5G smartphone business in 2020 and beyond.

The latest Ericsson Mobility Report said 5G will have 2.6 billion subscriptions covering up to 65 percent of the world’s population and generating 45 percent of the mobile data traffic by 2025. The report said there will be 13 million 5G subscriptions by the end of 2019.

Sale of smartphones to end users will reach 1.57 billion in 2020, achieving an increase of 3 percent, according to Gartner. In 2019, smartphone sales fell 2 percent, the first time since 2008 that the global smartphone market experienced a decline, according to the latest report from Gartner.

“2019 was a challenging year for smartphone vendors, primarily due to oversupply in the high-end sector in mature markets and longer replacement cycles overall,” said Annette Zimmermann.

Smartphone market is expected to rebound in 2020 with the investment in adding 5G network coverage in more countries and as users who may have delayed their smartphone purchases until 2020 in expectation of price reductions begin buying again.

Demand for 5G smartphones, together with expectations of Apple’s first 5G iPhone, will boost demand for smartphones, particularly in Asia Pacific and Greater China.

Greater China with sale of 432.3 million and emerging Asia Pacific with sale of 376.8 million will maintain their # 1 and # 2 positions globally in smartphone sales 2020.

“Smartphone sales will register growth in 2020 as the demand for mid-price smartphones rises in India,” said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. “Premium features including improved camera, display at affordable price will remain key for growth in the Indian smartphone market in 2020.”

“Attention at this year’s MWC will be drawn to 5G devices at either end of the price scale, some of which may be revealed before the event,” said Annette Zimmermann. “The key focus for vendors will be access to 5G and enhancement of the camera technology within devices.”