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Smartphone Shipments to Exceed 1.38 Billion in 2021 Worldwide

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Smartphone shipments are expected to exceed 1.38 billion units globally in 2021, up 7.7percent from 2020 and at their highest level since 2015, according to a new report by IDC (International Data Corporation).

According to the IDC report 'Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker', this trend is predicted to continue into 2022, when year-over-year growth will be 3.8 percent, with shipments reaching 1.43 billion.

With 5G shipments predicted to increase by almost 130 percent by 2021, almost every region outside of China will experience triple-digit growth by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, in terms of market share, China will lead with about 50percent of 5G sales in 2021, followed by the US with 16 percent.

By the end of 2021, Western Europe and Asia/Pacific (excluding China and Japan) would account for 23.1 percent of the global 5G market.

"Adjacent markets such as PCs, tablets, television sets and smart home devices are competing for consumer spending on smartphones, but this hasn't hampered the market's recovery”, said Ryan Reith, program vice president of IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.

Although 7.7 percentage growth may appear to be a significant market turnaround, "we must keep in mind that we are returning from one of the most difficult years on record”, adds Reith.

In 2021, the 5G transition will also offer peak smartphone ASPs ($376, growing 9.7 percentage year over year).

"As the migration to 5G across all price tiers continues to accelerate, 2021 will represent the highest year-over-year increase the market has seen since 2015”, said Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.

The smartphone market began to grow again during the holiday quarter of last year, and since then, "only top suppliers' manufacturing has ramped up”, according to Reith.

Following last year's pandemic slowdown, there is high demand for mid-range and low-end 4G phones in emerging nations.

With a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7 percent, IDC predicts low single-digit growth to continue through 2025.

"As the migration to 5G across all price tiers continues to accelerate, 2021 will represent the highest year-over-year increase the market has seen since 2015”, said Anthony Scarsella, research manager with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.

The worldwide semiconductor shortage continues to be a source of concern for many industries, including the smartphone industry. However, compared to other areas such as automotive, PC, and numerous consumer tech sectors, the impact has been minimal.

By the end of 2021, other key markets such as Western Europe and Asia/Pacific (excluding China and Japan) would account for 23.1 percent of the global 5G market.

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