Worldwide smartphone sales expected to grow in 2020

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Mobile World Congress 2020 is less than a month away, which means all manner of new smartphone will be revealed at the Barcelona-based event. In recent years the sale of smartphones has flattened slightly in certain quarters, but the outlook for 2020 appears to be more positive according to research firm Gartner.

To that end it predicts worldwide smartphone sales to increase by 3 percent over the course of the year, with markets in Asia, Middle East and Africa helping with this push.

More specifically Gartner tracks smartphone sales to hit 1.57 billion units in 2020. If that prediction comes to fruition, it would represent an increase over last year’s dip of 2 percent, which is the first that the global market has declined since 2008.

“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,” Annette Zimmermann, research VP at Gartner, explains.

“However, in 2020, the market is expected to rebound with the introduction of 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,” she adds.

Focusing in on 5G devices, the firm expects an estimated 221 million devices to be sold this year, which would represent a 12 percent share of all devices sold in the year. It is also predicted to increase even further in 2021, with 5G smartphone sales more than doubling at 489 million units.

“The commercialisation 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,” adds Zimmermann.

Shifting focus back to MWC 20 then, Gartner says several announcements will centre around devices that support 5G.

“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. The key focus for vendors will be access to 5G and enhancement of the camera technology within devices,” concludes Zimmermann.

While the prospect of new mobile hardware is always exciting, we’ll be more interested to find out when 5G connectivity will filter down into mid-range devices, which would help to democratise the technology.

With Qualcomm leading the way in that regard, having silicon designed specifically for mid-range phones, hopefully some announcements to that end are in the offing.

[Image – Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash]

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.