5G Driving Device Growth, Shutting Out 4G
The price of mobile connectivity is going up as 5G begins to push out
4G. 5G phones are significantly more expensive than 4G phones, and
that gap is widening as 5G phones double in volume.
The overall growth of 5G phones will be 123.4% this year compared
with last year. According to market research firm IDC, worldwide,
smart phone shipments will increase 7.4% this year compared with last
year and will continue to grow 3.4% per year for the next two years.
That growth is being fueled by new 5G phones, whose average selling
price is $634 this year (up $12 from last year), compared with $206
for 4G phones (down $71 from last year). Further, phones costing more
than $1,000 grew 116% in the second quarter of 2021, during which the
overall overage price increased 9%.
According to IDC, China is, by far, the largest consumer of 5G
phones, soaking up 47.1% of the world's shipment volume. The United
States is a distant second at 16%, followed by India (6.1%) and Japan
iOS devices are growing at 13.8%, followed by Android at a more
"The smartphone market was better prepared from a supply chain
perspective heading into 2020 given almost all regions were expecting
to grow and vendors were preparing accordingly," said Ryan
Reith, group vice president with IDC's Mobility and Consumer Device
Trackers, in a prepared statement. "2020 was a bust due to the
pandemic but all of the top brands continued forward with their
production plans with the main difference that the timeline was
pushed out. Therefore, we are at a point where inventory levels are
much healthier than PCs and some other adjacent markets and we are
seeing the resilience of consumer demand in recent quarterly
details can be found on IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone
About the Author
David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.
He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEDavidNagel (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).