Sales of 5G Smartphones to Hit 100 Million in 2021

Over 10 billion mobile phones to be shipped in the next five years

Two out of every three phones sold in 2017 will be LTE-capable

By 2021, more than 500 million phones will be bought in China

London, 12 April 2017: Today, global analyst firm CCS Insight unveiled the latest update to its worldwide forecast of mobile phone shipments.

Figures from the forecast underline the immense scale of the global mobile phone industry. CCS Insight estimates that close to 2 billion mobile phones will be shipped in 2017, a two percent rise from 2016. Worldwide demand is expected to continue at this rate, resulting in a staggering 10 billion mobile phones being shipped over the next five years.

Smartphones will continue to account for most sales, with an expected 1.53 billion shipped in 2017. This figure will rise to 1.90 billion in 2021, when smartphones will account for 92 percent of the total mobile phone market.

Marina Koytcheva, VP Forecasting at CCS Insight, notes, “The mobile phone continues to power one of the most vibrant sectors of the consumer electronics market. Although total shipment volumes will remain largely flat over the next five years, the proportion of smartphones continues to grow and the technology landscape is changing rapidly”.

The forecast reveals the strong progress that 4G LTE technology has made in mobile phones over the past decade. CCS Insight recorded the first shipments of LTE phones in 2011, when they accounted for just 0.2 percent of the total market. The company expects 68 percent of phones shipped in 2017 to be LTE-capable, climbing to 84 percent in 2020.

Koytcheva adds, “4G technology isn’t limited to smartphones. The recent introduction of low-cost 4G chipsets for feature phones will put 4G technology on more and more affordable handsets. This will be particularly important in markets such as India that offer the highest growth opportunities in the coming years”.

CCS Insight’s forecast also reveals the emerging potential for 5G-capable handsets, despite the fact that early deployment of 5G networks will focus on providing fixed wireless connections. The analyst firm expects 100 million 5G-capable phones will be shipped in 2021; leading the charge will be North America and developed markets in Asia–Pacific such as Japan and South Korea.

Furthermore, CCS Insight’s forecast identified several regional trends, with mature markets such as North America and Western Europe not experiencing any growth over the next five years.

China will remain the largest global market, with sales reaching half a billion units in 2021. Growth in the Chinese market has been sustained longer than previously expected, fuelled by consumers continuing to upgrade to 4G-capable handsets. Principal growth markets during the forecast period will be in Africa, India and some other markets in South-East Asia.

The forecast highlights India as a particularly important market, with a compound annual growth rate of four percent between 2016 and 2021 — significantly higher than the 1.3 percent worldwide average. Koytcheva comments, “We expect an interesting battle to emerge in India as rival phone makers compete to take advantage of this growth. Chinese smartphone manufacturers have clearly set their sights on increasing their share of the market, but the Indian government is determined to support local manufacturing efforts with its Make in India initiative”.

However, CCS Insight cautions that, despite the impressive sales volumes, market conditions remain tough for phone manfacturers. Koytcheva observes “Mobile phone makers, especially the smaller ones, remain under tremendous pressure as component prices — particularly memory — continue to rise and margins keep getting tighter. It is more apparent than ever that success in mobile phones requires immense scale; as we predicted, smaller players are being squeezed harder than ever. Without the benefits of a large-scale business, the only way to survive is by identifying a niche that is underserved by the big players”.

Worldwide Mobile Phone Shipments (Billions), 2017-2021













Feature phones












Source: CCS Insight Mobile Phone Forecast 2017-2021

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

Notes to editors

CCS Insight’s latest mobile phone forecast provides a five-year outlook, including the current year, of shipments of smartphones and non-smartphones. It covers North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, China, India and the remaining Asia–Pacific regions. The forecast provides splits by technology (CDMA, GSM, WCDMA, LTE, 5G). It also records the installed base of devices in total and split into smartphone and non-smartphone, and figures are given for the global sell-in value. More details of CCS Insight’s comprehensive Mobile Phones research service can be found here:

The forecast is part of a broader suite of research into wearable technologies, including an extensive database of over 400 wearable products, regular category reports and monthly updates on the latest industry developments.

About CCS Insight

CCS Insight is a global analyst company focussing on all aspects of the connected world spanning mobile operators, enterprise mobility, business IoT, multiplay strategies, smartphones, wearables, virtual and augmented reality, Internet players, semiconductors and more. It provides a comprehensive suite services that are tailored to meet the needs of its international clients. It helps them grow their businesses while navigating the ever-changing technology terrain. Follow @CCSInsight on Twitter or learn more at

For further information contact:
Hollie Bridgland
Harvard PR
Tel: + 44 (0)20 7861 2842
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