Thursday, 10 September 2020 09:20

Global 5G smartphone shipments set to hit 278m units in 2020

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Global 5G smartphone shipments set to hit 278m units in 2020 Image by Ümit Solmaz from Pixabay

Global 5G smartphone shipments in 2020 will reach 278 million units in 2020, with 62% of these being in Greater China - mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan - followed by North America and Europe and the Middle East, the technology analyst firm Canalys says, adding that the overall smartphone volume to drop to 1.3 billion units, a drop of 10.7% year-on-year.

In a blog post, the company predicted there would be a rebound of 9.9% in overall volume in 2021.

“Global smartphone shipments are rebounding rapidly in many markets ahead of the economic and retail consumption recovery,” said Canalys senior analyst Ben Stanton.

“Smartphone vendors have relentlessly pushed new product launches, as well as online marketing and sales, during the post-lockdown period, generating strong consumer interest for the latest gadgets.

"Gradual reopening of offline stores, improving logistics and production have provided necessary uplift for most markets to move into a more stabilised second half of 2020. And with the holiday season about to kick off, there is no doubt 5G is about to be thrust into the spotlight."

Canalys said the rapid commoditisation of 5G smartphones in mainland China was a crucial factor behind the huge volume of 5G device shipments in 2020.

smartphones 5g canalys 2020

“As realme launched its V3 in September, the first sub-US$150 (999 yuan, A$199) 5G smartphone in China, 5G officially becomes a feature for entry-level smartphones,” said Canalys analyst Shengtao Jin. “This milestone has arrived three months earlier than expected and will have a significant ripple effect in other regions, such as Southeast Asia, EMEA, and even Latin America where Chinese vendors are expanding.

“The economies of scale provided by the China market will allow vendors to launch more affordable 5G smartphones in other countries, even if 5G infrastructure in those markets is not fully ready. It is expected that by 2021, nearly 60% of 5G smartphone shipments in China will be cheaper than US$400, while 5G penetration in China will reach 83% in the next 12 months.".

Canalys also predicted that Europe would be the third largest region, behind Greater China and North America, in terms of 5G penetration in 2020 and 2021.

“Fairly aggressively-priced 5G devices are already available in Europe, such as the Motorola G 5G Plus, and the Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G," said Stanton.

"But with many Apple-centric markets, such as the UK, there is a large base of customers willing to wait for an iPhone with 5G.

"Another headache for mobile operators in Europe is the ongoing uncertainty around Huawei, as it looks increasingly likely that supply chain constraints will hinder its volume potential.

"Huawei was long expected to play a major role in 5G smartphone adoption, and other brands such as Xiaomi, OPPO and TCL are already positioning themselves to fill any vacuum as it appears."

The analyst firm said the average selling price of 5G smartphones in Europe was expected to decrease, but more steadily, considering Apple and Samsung’s share in this region, reaching at US$765 in 2021 and US$477 in 2024.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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