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5G Phones To Hit 278 Million This Year, Recovery Ahead

Global 5G smartphone shipments are forecast to notch 278 million this year, as the market progresses towards a ‘rapid rebound’ in coming periods according to Canalys.

“Global smartphone shipments are rebounding rapidly in many markets ahead of the economic and retail consumption recovery,” states Canalys Senior Analyst, Ben Stanton.

Affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, smartphone volumes are forecast to drop 10.7% year-on-year in 2020.

“Gradual reopening of offline stores, improving logistics and production have provided necessary uplift for most markets to move into a more stabilized second half of 2020,” adds Mr Stanton.

“And with the holiday season about to kick off, there is no doubt 5G is about to be thrust into spotlight.”

5G smartphone shipments are forecast to be lead by Greater China (62%), followed by North America and EMEA.

Canalys expects China to be a critical factor for the acceleration of 5G smartphones this year, prompt by budget entrants from the likes of realme.

realme’s recently launched the first sub US$150 5G smartphone in its home-country of China – reportedly three months earlier than expected – which Canalys predicts will have a “significant ripple effect in other regions.”

The news comes as Chinese phone makers such as Huawei continue to face trade tensions with the United States and other Western governments. Other Chinese makers such as TCL, Oppo and realme have continued to expand their overseas presence in markets including Australia.

“The economies of scale provided by the China market will allow vendors to launch more affordable 5G smartphones in other countries, even if 5G infrastructure in those markets is not fully ready,” asserts Mr Stanton.

Korean tech maker, Samsung, has continued to expand its mid-range smartphone portfolio with 5G entrants, whilst Apple readies the debut of its first 5G handsets in coming weeks.

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