Global Mobile Handset Market, Forecast to 2024
Colloquially referred to as cell phones, mobile handsets primarily serve as portable telephones that can make and receive calls and transmit and receive data over a cellular radio link while the user is moving within a defined service area. Mobile handsets encompass smartphones, smart feature phones, and feature phones, and their chief distinctions are operating systems, chipsets, and form factors. In 2019, approximately 2.08 billion mobile handsets were shipped globally. Frost & Sullivan expects year-over-year smartphone sales declines over the next 2-3 years due to longer replacement cycles and fewer overall product innovations, although intense 5G-related marketing efforts will facilitate the segment’s return to growth. Smart feature phones' growth will be driven by carrier subsidies to get developing regions online after sales spikes in 2017 and 2018. Features phones will register deteriorating sales as smartphone prices drop and as customers expect greater functionality.
The high market share concentration among the top 3 vendors—Samsung, Apple, and Huawei—will make it difficult for new participants to enter and will also erode existing companies’ margins. While direct-to-consumer sales works well for some brands, carrier-based sales encourages the adoption of fewer handsets and spurs vendor consolidation. China will remain the single largest market; India and Africa, to a lesser extent, will also contribute to market growth.
The base year for this research service is 2019, and the forecast period runs through to 2024. The study discusses drivers and restraints to growth, unit shipment forecast, and market share analysis and competitive scenario. Growth opportunities and Frost & Sullivan recommendations are also provided.
As the market comprises a large number of vendors (most of them offer the Android OS), product differentiation is a challenge. Marketing will play a key role in terms of vendor recognition, leading to increased budgets and consolidation among smaller vendors that cannot afford as much advertising as the larger, well-established brands. The launch of 5G, competition among carriers, first-time buyers in developing regions, camera-related improvements, and innovative form factors, such as foldable configurations, will drive sales over the next 3-5 years. Handsets will continue to subsume computing functionality from tablets and personal computers and will act as the primary computing and entertainment device for most part of the global population. Industries have also become significantly dependent on handsets for communication of information as consumers use apps, mobile Web sites, and mapping to conduct business. Globally, these devices have become critical to both individual users and businesses.
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