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April 12, 2017

More smartphones than humans by 2021, according to report

The sales of smartphones are going to continue to rise and CCS Insight estimate that over 10 billion will be shipped by 2021

By Joe Clark

Over 10 billion mobile phones will be shipped across the globe by 2021, according to a new report.

The latest mobile phone forecast from CCS Insight has estimated that in the next five years smartphone sales will continue to grow and 5G smartphones will be one of the biggest newcomers on the market with over 100 million units shipped by 2021.

In 2017 alone, CCS believes that over 1.53 billion smartphones will be distributed. This number is expected to climb to over 1.9 billion by 2021, with 500 million being purchased exclusively in China.


Marina Koytcheva, VP Forecasting at CCS Insight, said: “The mobile phone continues to power one of the most vibrant sectors of the consumer electronics market. Although total shipment volumes will remain largely flat over the next five years, the proportion of smartphones continues to grow and the technology landscape is changing rapidly.”

CCS noted that the demand for increased connectivity has been a major driving force in smartphone sales. When 4G LTE debuted in 2011, it accounted for just 0.2% of the market but this number is now estimated to be closer to 68% in 2017, and as high as 84% by 2020.

Koytcheva said: “4G technology isn’t limited to smartphones. The recent introduction of low-cost 4G chipsets for feature phones will put 4G technology on more and more affordable handsets. This will be particularly important in markets such as India that offer the highest growth opportunities in the coming years”.

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Whist the US and European markets are not expected to grow over the next five years, key areas in the developing world and China are expected to see huge expansion.

CCS estimates that China will remain the most important market as customers continue to upgrade to 4G enable handsets, but India will also play an important role in smartphone sales.

The Indian smartphone market is estimated to grow approximately 4% year-on-year until 2021, whereas the worldwide average is just 1.3%.

The report concludes by saying that even thought the industry is seeing record sales numbers, it has also become an increasingly competitive and hostile market, and more of the smaller manufacturers are finding themselves squeezed out by the giants each year.

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