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Gartner Says Worldwide Smartphone Sales to Grow 11% in 2021



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

STAMFORD, Conn. February 3, 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). 

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).

“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) is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. We equip business leaders with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve their mission-critical priorities and build the successful organizations of tomorrow.

Our unmatched combination of expert-led, practitioner-sourced and data-driven research steers clients toward the right decisions on the issues that matter most. We are a trusted advisor and objective resource for more than 14,000 enterprises in more than 100 countries — across all major functions, in every industry and organization size.

To learn more about how we help decision makers fuel the future of business, visit www.gartner.com.