Shipment term

Global Smartphone Shipment Forecast to 2026: From Slight Decline to Slight Recovery

After recovering in 2021 from a series of flat to negative years that culminated with a decline of almost 7% in 2020, global smartphone shipments are expected to fall by 2.4% in 2022, inflation, shortages components and longer replacement cycles resulting in lower demand for smartphones. Short term.

Beyond that, shipments should gradually recover as component shortages improve, supply chain disruptions ease, and device adoption increases in under-penetrated markets.

However, Kagan expects this momentum to see the market only a modest improvement from 2021’s 1.35 billion units, increasing annual shipments at a compound annual growth rate of less than 1% until ‘in 2026 to reach 1.36 billion units.

Key factors that are expected to impact the smartphone market in the coming years include:

  • Many markets have reached or are approaching smartphone saturation with penetration rates above 80%. With fewer first-time buyers, smartphone shipments are primarily driven by gradually lengthening replacement cycles, resulting in lower shipments per year.
  • The global shortage of semiconductors is gradually easing as the demand curve approaches the available supply. A number of smartphone makers have noted year-over-year improvements in the situation from the first half of 2022, but are still feeling an impact on operations nonetheless.
  • China’s strict institutional measures to curb sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks continue to impact global supply chains that rely on the country’s manufacturing prowess. Apart from direct factory closures, some land routes have been disrupted while a number of seaports remain severely congested as the effects of city-wide closures reverberate.
  • Geopolitical tensions in the European subcontinent are exacerbating high inflation in the current macroeconomic environment. Many markets around the world are in recession, if not already in recession, and the prices of consumer goods are steadily rising. In such a situation, many consumers think twice before buying a shiny new gadget.
  • The strong marketing push for 5G networks and new 5G-enabled devices is helping to spur some upgrade purchases. Meanwhile, the phasing out of older 2G and 3G networks in various markets around the world should push some holdouts to finally switch to a smartphone.

Kagan’s global smartphone forecast is based on analysis of publicly available industry reports and proprietary data models. The report provides estimates on shipments, revenue, average selling prices as well as market share estimates.