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Smartphones - Statistics & Facts

Smartphones are mobile phones with more advanced computing capabilities and connectivity than regular mobile phones that came onto the consumer market in the late 90s. The mainstream popularity of the devices took off with the introduction of Apple’s iPhone in 2007. The iPhone revolutionized the industry by offering user-friendly features such as a touch screen interface and a virtual keyboard. The first smartphone running an Android OS was introduced to the consumer market in late 2008.

Smartphones: a rapid integration with everyday life

The smartphone industry has been steadily developing and growing since 2008, both in market size and in number of models and vendors. Smartphone shipments worldwide are projected to add up to around 1.43 billion units in 2022.

By the end of 2020, 78.05 percent of the world’s population were smartphone users. With many people using more than one smartphone, the actual number of smartphone subscriptions exceeds the number of smartphone users. As of 2021, smartphone users are using an estimated 6.23 billion smartphone subscriptions, which is expected to climb to 7.7 billion by 2027.

Apple and Samsung lead a competitive field

Samsung held 23.4 percent of the global smartphone market share in the first quarter of 2022. Samsung and Apple tend to swap places at the top of the smartphone market, with Apple smartphone sales typically peaking in the last quarter of the year.

The back and forth between Apple and Samsung is typical at the top end of the market, but the fight for the remaining places among the top five vendors is hotly contested. Huawei once had a solid hold on this position, even leading the market for a brief period, but the trade restrictions have taken a heavy toll on the Chinese smartphone manufacturer. Other Chinese manufacturers have primarily filled the gap left by Huawei’s decline. Xiaomi’s smartphone market share in Europe, for example, has increased from 10 percent in the first quarter of 2020 to as high as 24 percent in the second and third quarters of 2021.

Ongoing dominance is never guaranteed

While the market has two fairly consistent leaders, Until the first quarter of 2011, Nokia was the leading smartphone vendor worldwide with a 24 percent market share.

Nokia’s decline serves as a reminder that keeping ahead of the development curve is crucial in an industry at the forefront of tech innovation. A diminished Nokia was once hard to imagine, but a failure to keep ahead of those that were innovating and changing the face of the smartphone market saw the company left behind.


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