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“5G is the next battleground”: Worldwide demand for smartphones surge

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The smartphone is back on the growth path, and how!

In India, Diwali (the festival of lights) came early this year for smartphone makers, with the mobile category seeing the biggest festive season till date, and they raked in millions on both online and offline platforms. 

The smartphone category witnessed 15 times growth, led by brands like Samsung, OnePlus, Apple, Xiaomi and Vivo. 

The India smartphone market grew in double-digits reaching a record of 49 million units in third quarter 2019,” Counterpoint Research analyst Karn Chauhan said

Given maturity of smartphone users in terms of digital content consumption, commerce and communication, the smartphone has become central to people’s lives taking a priority in terms of their share of wallet.

Karn Chauhan, Counterpoint Research 

Not just in India, the worldwide smartphone market finally returned to positive growth, expanding +2% YoY in Q3 2019, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics. This is the industry’s first uptick in 2 years.

Global smartphone shipments grew 2 percent annually to reach 366 million units in the third quarter of 2019,” stated Linda Sui, director at Strategy Analytics.

Worldwide demand for smartphones is recovering, due to strong pricing competition among vendors and new innovations such as larger screens and 5G connectivity.”

Figures from market researcher Canalys also show a similar growth trend, with Canalys Research Director Rushabh Doshi predicting that “5G is the next battleground,” especially for Samsung, which topped the rankings and shipped 78.9 million devices, up 11%.

“With its foldable smartphone that no other competitors have yet launched, Samsung will likely lead the high-end smartphone market as it would mass produce foldable smartphones next year,” said Song Myung-sup, analyst at HI Investment & Securities.

Huawei also bounced back from a weak Q2 and was second with 66.8 million units shipped, up 29%. Huawei Technologies Co.’s revenue jumped 24% in 2019’s first nine months, defying US sanctions, and it expects smartphone shipments to grow 20% next year even if it’s blocked from the latest Google software.

Apple could also be on its way to reclaiming dominance in the smartphone industry, and it expects iPhone sales to return to growth next year as the introduction of a line of 5G devices supercharges demand, according to Bloomberg.

Apple aims to ship more than 200 million handsets in 2020. That’s up from analysts’ estimates of about 170 million to 190 million for 2019.

A final indication that smartphones have now firmly moved into growth territory comes again from China. Bytedance, the world’s most valuable startup ahead of global successes like Uber, Airbnb and SpaceX, has just released its long-rumored smartphone.

It appears the company behind TikTok is now looking for yet another explosive growth story.