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IDC: Smartphone market ready to rebound thanks to 5G

Thu 26 Nov 20

Following a stronger than expected third quarter (3Q20), the global smartphone market is expected to return to growth during the holiday quarter this year, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

The report notes that smartphone shipments are forecast to grow 2.4% year over year in 4Q20, followed by 4.4% year-over-year growth in 2021. 

The market rebound will be fueled by an impressively quick supply chain recovery as well as significant incentives from both OEMs and channels on new 5G products. 

IDC expects the global market to grow each year through 2024 with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.3%.

"Despite concerns around weakness in 5G demand, smartphone volumes exceeded the forecast in 3Q20 and supply-side momentum headed into the holiday quarter and 2021 remains strong," says IDC worldwide mobile device trackers programme vice president Ryan Reith.

"We've come to the conclusion that despite on-going lockdowns and economic concerns, consumers in many markets around the world have shifted their normal spending from things like travel, dining out, and general leisure to things like consumer electronics. Smartphones happen to be a benefactor of this transition."

5G is the driving force for the industry right now. 

IDC expects 5G smartphone shipments to reach close to 10% of global volume in 2020 and grow to 29% in 2024. 

Despite concerns about the lack of demand for 5G, it is apparent that the wheels are in motion to transition the mobile industry to the latest network technology. 

A key factor to accomplish this will be getting the cost of 5G hardware close to or on par with 4G phones. 

This is something the industry is focusing on and IDC expects worldwide 5G ASPs to drop 25% year over year in 2020 to $611 and then to $453 in 2024.

"Competitive pricing will play an integral role in shaping 5G development. The COVID-19 crisis has influenced consumer behaviour by tilting it toward more budget-friendly devices and narrowing the spend for essentials only. Aggressive promotions and more affordable 5G devices from major smartphone vendors are expected to partially offset the impact in the near term," says IDC worldwide mobile device trackers senior analyst Sangeetika Srivastava.

IDC Tracker products provide accurate and timely market size, vendor share, and forecasts for hundreds of technology markets from more than 100 countries around the globe. 

Using proprietary tools and research processes, IDC's Trackers are updated on a semiannual, quarterly, and monthly basis. 

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