The semiconductor slump will not hold back the smartphone market as the drive toward 5G will push global shipment numbers up 7.7 percent year over year to 1.38 billion in 2021, according to the latest IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
The company added that the growth should continue into 2022, though somewhat abated with 3.8 percent growth to 1.43 billion units shipped.
5G shipments are expected to grow nearly 130 percent this year, seeing triple digits in almost all regions outside of China.
On top of 5G rolling out in regions across the globe, emerging markets are still seeing demand for low-mid range 4G devices after the pandemic-drive slowdown.
"Smartphones are seeing competition for consumer spending from adjacent markets like PCs, tablets, TVs, and smart home devices, yet that hasn't slowed the market's path to recovery," said IDC worldwide mobile device trackers program vice president Ryan Reith.
"The smartphone market returned to growth during the holiday quarter last year and since then we've only seen production from top suppliers ramp up. There continues to be a strong supply-side push toward 5G, and price points continue to drop as a result. IDC expects average selling prices (ASPs) for 5G Android devices to drop 12 percent year over year in 2021 to $456 and then below $400 in 2022. Apple will continue to feel price pressure."
IDC said it expects low single-digit growth to continue through 2025 with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7 percent. It noted that the smartphone market has not been as impacted by the semiconductor shortage as automotive, PC and consumer tech categories.
China will account for a staggering 50 percent of the share of 5G shipments in 2021 against Western Europe and Asia/Pacific’s (excluding China and Japan) combined 23.1 percent.
"Although the 7.7 percent 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," said IDC worldwide mobile device trackers research manager Anthony Scarsella.
"2021 will represent the largest year-over-year growth the market has witnessed since 2015, as the shift towards 5G across all price tiers continues to accelerate. The 5G shift will also deliver peak smartphone ASPs in 2021 ($376, up 9.7 percent year over year) when compared to the remainder of the forecast period as costly 5G devices continue to replace LTE devices, which are also starting to drop in price, down 27 percent in 2021."