Worldwide 4G smartphone shipments forecast 2016 - 2020

4G smartphone adoption has almost killed the 3G growth, especially in the developed countries. The shipment share of 4G smartphones is expected to grow to 92% in 2020 from 81% in 2016, according to the latest data from IDC. The market growth of 4G smartphones will be led by emerging markets (Asia/Pacific excluding Japan, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East and Africa), which will account for 71.6% of total 4G smartphone shipments by 2020.

The Growth of 4G Smartphones in Emerging Market

As we reported earlier, the worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to reach 1,445.4 million units in 2016; emerging markets accounting for 75% of this. These figures clearly portray the dominant status of emerging markets, especially India, on global smartphone forum.

The emerging markets have been lagging behind in mobile infrastructure and latest technology adoption. Despite that, the growth of 4G enabled smartphones has been stupendous. In 2016, 4G enabled smartphones will account for 76.8% of the total smartphone shipments in the emerging markets. Only 232.3 million units of 3G enabled smartphones are expected to be shipped, compared to 839.5 million 4G enabled smartphones. The credit goes to the low-cost range of 4G smartphones in emerging countries like India, where the price of a 4G smartphone has gone down to as low as $110.

Emerging markets will account for 71.5% of the total 4G smartphones that are estimated to be shipped in 2016. By 2020, the percentage will swell up to 77.7%.

Growth of 4G smartphones Stagnated in Developed Markets

In the developed markets (USA, Canada, Western Europe and Japan), the penetration of 4G smartphones is already quite deep. 94% of smartphones that are expected to be shipped in developed markets will be 4G enabled, compared to only 20 million 3G smartphones.

With an almost negligible growth in smartphone shipments and 4G smartphones shipments, the developed markets are no more attracting smartphone manufacturers.

The trends are clearly indicating that the world has moved on from slow speed mobile internet connectivity. By 2020, a whopping 1577.7 million total 4G smartphones are expected to be shipped compared to just 132.4 million 3G smartphones.

The emerging markets are all set to drive the growth of 4G enabled smartphones in the next five years. Thus, it is but natural that manufacturers have now shifted focus to the Indian market. After all, it is the Indian market that has the maximum potential to grow in the next few years. With 331 million smartphone users in India, the smartphone penetration has reached to just 25% by the end of Q3 2016. 71% of smartphones that are being sold in the country every quarter belong to sub-$150 and most of them are 4G enabled!