LTE-Capable Mobile Phones to Account for Half of All Shipments in 2016 as China Remains Powerhouse of Growth

CCS Insight forecasts 2.2 billion mobile phones to be sold in 2020

China is world’s biggest market, accounting for over 420 million shipments in 2016,
or 21 percent of the global market

By 2020, a staggering 7 billion mobile phones will be in use,
with over three-quarters being smartphones

London, 5 April 2016: CCS Insight’s latest mobile phones forecast indicates continued but more stable growth over the next five years. The research company expects 2.04 billion mobile phones to be sold in 2016, with smartphones providing the growth.

Over the next five years CCS Insight expects smartphone sales to grow from 1.5 billion units in 2016 to 2 billion units in 2020. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 7.2 percent. Furthermore, 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.

Key markets that will deliver smartphone growth include India and the other emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region, where CCS Insight expects almost 220 million smartphones to be sold in 2016. A further 85 million smartphones will be sold in Africa.

Jasdeep Badyal, analyst for smart devices at CCS Insight, commented, “Despite a popular misconception that mobile phone growth has ceased, there remains a huge market opportunity. Adoption of new technology is also being boosted as users upgrade to increasingly affordable LTE-capable smartphones.”

The new research confirms that 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.

Badyal continues, “LTE momentum shows no signs of abating. In 2016 we expect LTE-capable devices to account for 50 percent of all smartphone shipments; and we expect that to rise to 72 percent of the market by 2020”.

The forecast also highlights the niche role now played by alternative smartphone operating systems. Software platforms such as BlackBerry OS, Tizen and Windows 10 Mobile will account for just 2 percent of the market by the end of 2016 as the dominance of Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS rolls on.

Feature phones 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.

Notes to editors

The data in this release is taken from CCS Insight’s recently published Market Forecast: Mobile Phones, Worldwide, 2016-2020.

The forecast is part of a broader suite of products available from CCS Insight, including mobile operator research, wearable devices, semiconductors, multiplay services and enterprise mobility.

Click on the infographic above for a larger version or click here for a PDF version.

About CCS Insight

CCS Insight is a global analyst company focussing on mobile communications and the Internet. It provides comprehensive services that are tailored to meet the needs of individual clients, helping them make sense of the connected world. Follow @CCSInsight on Twitter or learn more at

For further information contact:
Sarah Wilson
Harvard PR
Tel: +44 20 7861 3933
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