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Smartphones with glass back penetration to hit 60% by CY 2020
One of the reasons for glass becoming a preferred choice over metal is the overall look and feel of the device.
According to a new report by research firm Counterpoint, smartphones with glass backs will reach 26 percent of total smartphone shipments by the end of 2018 and possibly 60 percent by the end of CY 2020.
Smartphones with glass backs have already penetrated the premium segment (80 percent).
"Almost all the premium smartphones launched in CY 2018 came with a glass back and the trend is likely to stay for rest of the 2018 and beyond," Tarun Pathak, Associate Director said.
One of the reasons for glass becoming a preferred choice over metal is the overall look and feel of the device. With average smartphone prices within the premium segment going up, smartphones with glass backs add to the overall look and feel, making them look more attractive and premium, the firm said.
Another reason in favor of glass backs is the increasing adoption of wireless charging.
"Metals don't support wireless charging as effectively as a glass back does. However, the adoption of wireless charging is relatively low, with Samsung and Apple driving adoption," Pathak said.
As more smartphone makers start including Qi technology, the adoption of wireless charging is set to increase and can penetrate the mid-tier segments.
From a connectivity standpoint as well, glass doesn't interfere with radio waves and allows them to pass through easily and hence ensures strong signals for LTE/WiFI/Bluetooth.
Apple was the only OEM having almost 64 percent of its portfolio with a glass back. This was driven by the iPhone 8 series and iPhone X.
Samsung which started adopting glass backs much earlier than other OEMs, with its S6 series, is also driving the trend with 36 percent of its overall smartphone shipments sporting glass backs.
This will go up to 50 percent by the end of CY 2019. Additionally, in the mid-end segment its A series has now completely adopted glass backs and metal casing.
Within Chinese brands, Huawei has been driving the trend even within the $200 segment through its Honor series. We estimate that glass back adoption within the Honor Portfolio will be faster than the rest of the Chinese OEMs.
Xiaomi took a different route, using a ceramic back in its Mix series. Due to challenges in generating mass for the material, it has started adopting glass backs.