The smartphone market was valued at USD 714.96 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 1351.8 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 11.2% over the forecast period 2021 - 2026. Increased consumer spending across regions has driven the sales of Smartphone markers for years. The growth of the market is, however, plateauing, considering intense penetration levels. For instance, 91% of U.S. households own smartphones and are packed with vital features at different price points.
- With around 50% of smartphone penetration, on average, across regions, the replacement cycle is lengthening, which prompts the decline of the unit sales, especially in regions such as U.S., and China among others.
- While companies have been increasing their revenues by launching new variant phones with increased frequency, the maturity state in a few regions might be challenging for their revenues. For instance, in April 2020, Apple launched the iPhone SE. The launch added a new iPhone model into Appleâ€™s product mix just as lockdown restrictions had reached important markets, such as the USA.
- However, 5G handsets and foldable phones are likely to provide them with new opportunities. According to Ericsson, the number of mobile 5G subscriptions in North America will reach 325 million compared to 3 million in 2019.
- Component suppliers are ramping up their production to support the efforts of smartphone makers. For instance, at the IFA electronics show in Berlin, Qualcomm reported that its partners are developing over 150 designs using its 5G processors. This means the company is expanding 5G across its product line to make 5G accessible to over 2 billion smartphone users. This way, the company expects to extend 5G to cheaper smartphones.
- However, due to the outbreak of COVID-19, smartphone shipments saw a declining stage as countries are still dealing with the pandemic. According to a report, there is a 15.7% decline year-on-year in unit shipments from 331.8 million in Q2/2019 to 279.7 million in Q2/2020.
Key Market Trends
Online sales of Smartphones may be Challenged by Offline Push
- Smartphone is becoming an important part of retail sales, as they are an ever-increasing part of consumersâ€™ lives. E-commerce portals like Amazon among others attract end-users with special discounts on smartphones and created an online buying culture. The online sale of smartphones has been further led by the Holiday shopping culture across regions.
- However, in regions such as India, where the smartphone sales do not seem to slowdown, the smartphone companies including Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo & Oppo are aggressively expanding their offline stores into the Indian smartphone market to leverage the market opportunity.
- Further, the share might be lost to other categories such as fashion and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), home products among others, in regions with high smartphone penetrations. This is considering the increasing share of e-commerce and changing consumer attitude towards online purchase.
Asia-Pacific to Hold Significant Market Share
- Asia leads the smartphone market both in terms of production and sales as well. The region houses a significant number of smartphone makers such as Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Samsung Electronics, Vivo Communication Technology Co. Ltd., Xiaomi Corporation, which together hold the lionâ€™s share in the overall smartphone market.
- China has been the go-to-market for any technology company. The primary vendor Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd, shipped 55.8 million units in Q2/2020 and surpassed Samsung, which shipped 54.3 million units in Q2/2020. Despite facing sanctions from the US government that are now entering their second year, Huawei has been able to mitigate impacts on its international business enough to compete with Samsung and finally claim the global top spot.
- However, tensions between the Indian and Chinese governments have impacted India's smartphone market, even though many Chinese OEMs have invested significantly over the last 18 months to increase their production and customer service operations in the country. For OEMs like Realme, Vivo, and Xiaomi, which focus on this market, the pandemic and governmental issues contributed to a problematic Q2/2020.
The smartphones market is a rather competitive market dominated by established players such as Samsung, Huawei, Apple, Xiaomi, among others. Most of these players keep launching new models with small technology changes such as battery power, camera configuration and/processor. Some of the recent developments in the market are:
- In August 2020 - Xiaomi's launched Redmi 9 Prime. The phone comes with a 6.53-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1080 pixels by 2340 pixels at a PPI of 394 pixels per inch.
- In July 2020 - Samsung Electronics introduced the Galaxy Z Flip 5G. The Galaxy Z Flip 5G is the first device in Samsungâ€™s Galaxy line-up to feature the QualcommÂ® Snapdragonâ„¢ 865 Plus 5G Mobile Platform. This new platform maximizes the power of 5G with revved up performance to deliver faster and more efficient on-device processing with sharper imagery through improved graphics rendering.
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