Smartphones have become ubiquitous in today’s society, giving us the ability to control many aspects of our lives with just our fingertips. Today’s smartphones act as a portal to our everyday needs and desires; from banking to shopping, from work to leisure, from hobbies to passions, our smartphone allows us to connect with the world more than ever before. According to data presented by Buyshares.co.za, smartphone subscriptions in 2020 has more doubled since 2015 to 6.1B units globally, growing at a CAGR of 10.54% in the 5-year period from 2016-2020.
Smartphone subsciprtions doubled from 2015 to 2020 – 6.1bn in 2020
The title of the very first smartphone belongs to the Simon Personal Communicator (SPC) which was produced and launched by IBM in 1994. A few of the SPC’s main features still remain as staples of modern-day smartphones, but the SPC would be unrecognizable as a smartphone among today’s generation of devices.
The iPhone’s launch in 2007 is what many consider the first version of the smartphone as we know it today. It was the first phone to offer access to the internet in its entirety and not a scaled-down version of it. For the first time ever you could browse the internet just like you would on your desktop computer or laptop.
Smartphones became mainstream soon after the iPhone’s launch and are now ubiquitous in today’s society. Swedish telecommunications company, Ericsson, estimates there to be 6.1B smartphone subscriptions in the world in 2020, over 101% more than 2015’s smartphone subscriptions. In the 5-year period from 2016-2020, smartphone subscriptions grew at a CAGR of 10.54%.
In the year that the first iPhone was released, it is estimated that 122M units of smartphones were sold to end-users. In 2018 that figure ballooned to a record 1.56B smartphones sold. 2019 posted similar numbers to 2018 but experienced a 10.5% YoY decrease in the pandemic ravaged year of 2020. The number of smartphones sold to end-users is projected to bounce back and increase by 11.4% YoY in 2021.
China has most smartphone users with almost 1bn
China has an estimated 912M smartphone users in 2020, the most in the world. China’s smartphone penetration rate in 2020 stood at 63.4% which is the 8th highest in the world. Of the top 20 countries with the most smartphone users, the USA had the highest penetration rate of 81.6%. 15 other countries from the top 20 list, posted smartphone penetration rates of above 50%.
As of 2020, Newszoo estimates that there are 3.6B smartphone users worldwide. The same estimates project smartphone users to rise by almost 20% by 2023 to 4.3B. The smartphone penetration rate globally in 2020, stood at 46.45% compared to just 33.5% in 2016.