The news: Roughly 1.37 billion smartphones will ship in 2021, and 570 million of them will be 5G-ready, per IDC, which predicted shipment growth of 7.4% YoY but noted that “2021 shipments have managed to display minimal growth compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic) volumes.”
What this means: The report indicates a steady rise in smartphone production despite the challenges from the global chip shortage and, more recently, surging cases of COVID-19 shuttering factories and affecting production in various countries.
The bigger picture: The world’s largest smartphone markets are China, the US, and Western Europe, and sales in these regions are still down from 2019. Growing markets like India, Japan, the Middle East, and Africa are responsible for fueling 2021’s smartphone recovery.
What’s next? With a large share of the smartphones coming to market in 2021 being 5G devices, the pressure is on service providers and carriers to expand 5G coverage to support the deluge of 5G-capable smartphones.