In 2020, the growth of smartphones decreased sharply, and the shipments have declined by 7% due to the poor market conditions caused by the epidemic of Covid-19. Canalys’ analysts predict that the market will be recovered in 2021, and the application of 5G will approach a turning point.
Now, the worldwide epidemic of Covid-19 is being controlled gradually, which will promote the rebound of the smartphone market. However, this rebound will be limited by a shortage of spare parts. This shortage will push up the price of electronic products and make manufacturers postpone or even cancel the release of new products. However, even limited by this bottleneck, the shipment of global smartphone this year are also expected to reach 1.4 billion, with an increase of 12% on a year-on-year basis. The shipments increase of Gartner are expected to be 11.4%, while the shipment increase of IDC is more conservative, will be 1.38 billion and 7.7%.
Manufacturers are trying to maximize their profit by limiting the supply, which means that they will give priority to wealthier markets, such as China, the United States, and Western Europe, and give away those ones with lower profit margins in Latin America and Africa. By even doing so, Canalys predicts that manufacturers will tend to supply more to operators than open markets. People usually buy new phones from operators when the contract expires, while those who buy non-contracts will postpone the upgrade easily. This may be a great opportunity for "challenger brands" which rely more on the sales in open market instead of the support from operators.
Analysts predict that the shipment of 5G smartphone will overtake 4G one’s next year. In the first quarter of this year, the 5G smartphone accounted for 37% of global shipments, and this number is expected to rise to 43% in 2021. Most of this growth is contributed by cheaper models. Models cheaper than US$300 are expected to account for 32% of all 5G smartphone shipments by the end of this year. However, to accommodate the extra cost of 5G chipsets, manufacturers have cut some other functions of smartphones. We have already found, that compared with the 4G models, the 5G models have lowered the screen parameters and decreased the number of cameras.