Global phone sales set to hit a 10-year low, recovery likely next year

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Smartphone sales worldwide slumped 40% in February 2020, owing to the coronavirus outbreak, which resulted in supply chain disruptions and dampened consumer demand. Technology market intelligence and advisory firm CCS Insight has now predicted that phone sales worldwide will drop to a ten-year low in 2020.

Due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, the firm says demand among consumers is falling, while slowdowns in supply chains are impacting the manufacturing and distribution of phones. As a result, CCS Insight predicts 1.26 billion smartphones could be sold worldwide this year – the lowest number in a decade. In 2019, a total of 1.41 billion smartphones were shipped globally. The global mobile phone market is expected to slow by 13% in 2020, with shipments in the second quarter of the year predicted to fall by a whopping 29%.

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Even after the outbreak is over, the demand for mobile phones is expected to remain weak, as the impact of the pandemic on the global economy will continue until the end of the year. However, the market is likely to bounce back in 2021, with smartphone sales expected to outpace 2019 by 4%. As the global economy recovers, the phone market could grow by as much as 13% in 2022.

While overall smartphone shipments will fall significantly this year, CCS Insight forecasts that sales of 5G phones will see a tenfold increase compared with 2019. A total of 210 million 5G phones are expected to be sold this year, with nearly half of the volume coming from China. By 2024, sales of 5G phones could hit 1.15 billion units, accounting for 58% of all mobile phone sales.

Should you buy a 5G phone in 2020?

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