5G smartphone shipments are expected to grow 255% by 2021: Counterpoint

USA, Korea, China, and Japan will be key markets for 5G infrastructure development and growth of smartphone sales.

The 5G smartphone shipments are expected to grow 255 percent by 2021, almost reaching 110 million units, while the growth will be slow during the initial commercialization phase in 2019, the new report said.

5G smartphone shipments are expected to grow 255% by 2021

According to Counterpoint Research, while the growth will be slow during the initial commercialization phase in 2019, there will be an uptick in sales once countries shift from non-standalone to standalone 5G infrastructure.

"Growth in the early commercial phase of 5G is expected to be low due to several factors. There are still forward-looking 5G standards that are unconfirmed, creating uncertainty around product and service opportunities. We also expect 5G chips to have a higher price point which will initially drive the cost of devices up. 5G capable devices will be premium only in the beginning. Also, only a handful of countries will be deploying the first 5G infrastructure," Research Director Tom Kang said.

USA, Korea, China, and Japan will be key markets for 5G infrastructure development and growth of smartphone sales.

"We are seeing some great initial developments happening in the USA, South Korea, China, and Japan and expect growth to be concentrated in these countries due to their big roll-out plans for 5G starting in 2019. Other countries, especially in Europe, are more likely to leapfrog to standalone 5G as they will want to wait for concrete business cases to arise, before fully committing to the transition," Research Analyst Maurice Klaehne said.

Other countries, especially in Europe, are more likely to leapfrog to standalone 5G as they will want to wait for concrete business cases to arise, before fully committing to the transition.

The overall handset market will slow to a CAGR of 1-2 percent from 2018-2021 due to market saturation and product innovations that are not spurring growth.

Research Director Peter Richardson added, "We expect the overall handset market to slow to a CAGR of 1-2 percent from 2018-2021 due to market saturation and product innovations that are not spurring growth. 5G devices will begin gaining in share in the market, but an overall transition to 5G could be slow and steady. Once we establish better 5G business cases and infrastructure, the market will begin seeing higher sales overall."

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