Smartphone sales, which hit a slump in 2020, are expected to rebound this year. Delayed purchases in 2020 and new services like 5G connectivity are expected to increase smartphone sales by 11.4 percent this year, to 1.5 billion units, reports research and advisory firm Gartner.

“In 2020, consumers reduced spending on smartphones but availability of new products, will see users drive significant uptick in demand in 2021,” says Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner. “The combination of delayed smartphone replacements and the availability of lower end 5G smartphones are poised to increase smartphone sales in 2021.”

Gartner analysts expect smartphone sales in 2021 to be close to 2019 levels. After recording a 10.5-percent decline in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry, smartphone sales are forecast to rebound in 2021, with the Asia-Pacific, Western Europe and Latin American markets expected to exhibit the strongest growth between 2020 and 2021.

The growing availability of 5G networks coupled with a higher variety of 5G smartphones starting at $200 will steer demand in mature markets and China. Gartner expects that demand in emerging countries will be driven by buyers looking for a smartphone with better specifications and a 5G connectivity as an optional feature. Gartner forecasts sales of 5G smartphones will total 539 million units worldwide in 2021, which will represent 35 percent of total smartphone sales in this year.

“5G is now a standard feature in premium smartphones, especially in the U.S., China, Japan and South Korea,” says Gupta. “Driven by lower-cost models, adoption is particularly aggressive in China, where 5G smartphone share is on pace to reach 59.5 percent in 2021. In addition, lower end 5G smartphones, which are becoming more prevalent outside China, are poised to drive more momentum for 5G smartphones in 2021 across all regions.”