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: Smartphone market could see biggest growth in six years amid 5G boom

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The global smartphone market could see its fastest growth since 2015 as a proliferation of more affordable 5G devices helps the mobile-phone industry rebound from a tough stretch during the pandemic.

That’s according to analysts at IDC, who project that there will be 1.38 billion smartphone shipments globally during 2021, up 7.7% from a year ago. Looking to 2022, the analysts expect the growth to continue, with projections for a 3.8% increase in shipments.

One key momentum driver will be the increasing adoption of 5G devices in markets where compatible networks have been deployed. The IDC analysts see price points coming down on 5G devices and expect that the average selling price for 5G Android devices could fall 12% to $456 in 2021 before dipping below $400 in 2022.

“Apple
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will continue to feel price pressure,” IDC program Vice President Ryan Reith said in a release. He’s upbeat about overall smartphone demand despite spending competition from other consumer-tech categories like personal computers, tablet, and televisions.

Most regions outside of China will see triple-digit growth in 5G shipments during 2021, per the IDC projections, though China will still be the leader in market share will almost half of all worldwide shipments.

The analysts also see growth opportunities for “mid-range and low-end 4G phones” in emerging markets after a sluggish performance during the pandemic.

While the smartphone industry is not “excluded” from supply-chain pressures brought about by a global chip shortage, the IDC analysts said that the smartphone market appears to have been less impacted by this dynamic than other categories, like automobiles and PCs.

Still, the IDC team cautions that strong smartphone-industry growth in 2021 may not be quite as strong as it looks on paper. “Although the 7.7% growth will feel like an impressive market turnaround, we must keep in mind that we are rebounding from one of the most challenging years on record,” IDC research manager Anthony Scarsella said in the release. IDC detailed in a January release that smartphone shipments for 2020 declined by an estimated 5.9%.

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