Development of the smartphone market

There were around 8.4 billion mobile communications subscriptions worldwide at the end of 2022, according to the Ericsson Mobility Report published in November 2022.

The number of mobile connections made using smartphones continues to rise, and was expected to have reached a total of 6.6 billion at the end of 2022, corresponding to approximately 79% of all mobile telephony subscriptions. The Ericsson report forecasts it to increase still further to 7.8 billion in 2028, representing 84% of all mobile contracts.

The recovery of the smartphone market came to an abrupt halt in 2022. This sector achieved growth again in 2021 after seeing falling global sales for several years. This was mainly due to factors inherent to the market (high share of the population who already have a smartphone, lack of major innovations, longer lifespan of devices). There were also external factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic, persisting geopolitical tension and economic instability which are impacting on consumer purchasing power.

The renewed growth that 5G was hoped to achieve was delayed in 2020 by the COVID-19 crisis, while an increase in sales in 2021 was held back by a shortage of semi-conductors. 5G is nevertheless continuing to develop, and 5G smartphones already accounted for over half of all smartphone sales in 2022. This share is set to increase to 80% by 2026.

However, the figures published by the International Data Corporation (IDC) at the end of January 2023 indicate the recovery will begin later than expected. Economic uncertainty and inflation also dampened consumer demand in 2022. Global smartphone sales shrank by 11.3%, amounting to 1.21 billion units – this means total annual smartphone sales in 2022 were the lowest since 2013. IDC revised its forecasts downwards and there are major doubts over forecasted growth of 2.8%. According to the IDC, the global smartphone market looks set to face continued difficulties, with a recovery not expected to start before the end of 2023.

The consultancy firm Gartner also expects the subdued mood on the market to continue holding back demand throughout the whole of 2023. Gartner is forecasting a 4% decrease in global smartphone sales with total sales falling from 1.28 billion units in 2022 to 1.23 billion units in 2023.

Last modification 31.05.2023

Top of page