Gartner Says Worldwide Smartphone Sales Will Grow 3% in 2020

Middle East and North Africa, Mature Asia/Pacific and Greater China Will Each Register Over 5% Growth

Worldwide sales of smartphones to end users are on track to reach 1.57 billion units in 2020, an increase of 3% year over year, according to Gartner, Inc. In 2019, worldwide smartphone sales declined 2%, the first time since 2008 that the global smartphone market experienced a decline.

“2019 was a challenging year for smartphone vendors, primarily due to oversupply in the high-end sector in mature markets and longer replacement cycles overall,” said Annette Zimmermann, research vice president at Gartner. “However, in 2020, the market is expected to rebound with the introduction of 5G network coverage in more countries and as users who may have delayed their smartphone purchases until 2020 in expectation of price reductions begin buying again.”

Gartner forecasts that sales of 5G mobile phones will total 221 million units in 2020 — which will account for 12% of overall mobile phone sales — and more than double in 2021, to 489 million units. “The commercialization of 5G phones will accelerate in 2020. 5G phones costing under $300 have been announced, so sales growth of 5G phones is expected to exceed that of 4G phones over twelve months,” said Ms. Zimmermann.

From a regional perspective, the Middle East and North Africa, mature Asia/Pacific and Greater China (China, Taiwan and Hong Kong) will exhibit the highest growth rates in 2020, at 5.9%, 5.7% and 5.1%, respectively (see Table 1).

Table 1:

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Region, 2019-2021 (Thousands of Units)

Region 2019






Eastern Europe 48,468 48,532 49,121
Emerging Asia/Pacific 363,643 376,784 396,394
Eurasia 48,612 50,915 52,860
Greater China 411,351 432,328 426,002
Japan 31,866 32,273 33,027
Latin America 129,830 125,635 122,963
Mature Asia/Pacific 30,095 31,802 31,234
Middle East and North Africa 73,872 78,226 75,604
North America 152,857 155,350 158,618
Sub-Saharan Africa 90,103 91,917 93,169
Western Europe 144,141 147,457 150,206
Total 1,524,838 1,571,219 1,589,198

Source: Gartner (January 2020)

Strong demand for 5G phones in general, together with expectations of Apple’s first 5G iPhone, will bolster demand for smartphones, particularly in Asia/Pacific and Greater China. In terms of smartphone sales, Greater China and emerging Asia/Pacific will maintain their No. 1 and No. 2 positions globally in 2020, with respective sales of 432.3 million and 376.8 million smartphones.