CCS Insight predicted smartphone sales will increase from 1.5 billion units in 2016 to 2 billion units in 2020, representing a compound growth rate of 7.2 per cent.
The research company added that total mobile device sales over the same period are expected to rise from 2.04 billion this year to 2.2 billion in 2020. It commented that as smartphones continue to displace non-smartphones, over 2 billion new smartphone owners will emerge over the next five years, taking the number of smartphone users from 3.1 billion in 2015 to 5.4 billion in 2020.
India and the other emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region will drive most of the growth in the coming years: CCS Insight expects almost 220 million smartphones to be sold in these regions in 2016. A further 85 million smartphones will be sold in Africa.
Jasdeep Badyal, analyst for smart devices at CCS Insight, also noted that LTE momentum shows no signs of abating.
"In 2016 we expect LTE-capable devices to account for 50 per cent of all smartphone shipments; and we expect that to rise to 72 per cent of the market by 2020," Badyal said.
CCS Insight said LTE device shipments doubled between 2014 and 2015, rising from 443 million units to 900 million units. China accounted for much of the growth, seeing LTE-capable device shipments more than triple from 93 million to 317 million.
In terms of the operating systems for smartphones, Apple and Android continue to dominate the market. The research company noted that alternative smartphone operating systems now play a niche role, adding that software platforms such as BlackBerry OS, Tizen and Windows 10 Mobile will account for just 2 per cent of the market by the end of 2016.
As smartphones increase their dominance, feature phones now make up a shrinking proportion of the market. Sale volumes will slide from 550 million units in 2016 to 240 million units by 2020. However, this opportunity remains interesting enough for a number of phone makers to continue to deliver products, albeit with ever-declining profit margins, CCS Insight added.
- see this CCS Insight release
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