Global smart device shipment forecasts 2020 to 2023

Shanghai (China), Bengaluru (India), Singapore, Reading (UK) and Portland (US) – Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Canalys: Worldwide smart device shipments to exceed 3 billion in 2023

Canalys forecasts that vendors will ship more than 3 billion smart devices worldwide in 2023. These include smartphones, desktop PCs, notebooks, tablets, wearable bands, smart speakers and smart personal audio devices. This represents an impressive four-year CAGR of 6.5% from 2.4 billion units in 2019, despite economic and political uncertainty. In the smartphone market, vendors expect challenging conditions despite the introduction of 5G and new form factors, and will double-down on their ecosystem strategies in 2020 to challenge the incumbents in many device segments. Smartphones will remain the most important category, and will account for more than half of all smart device shipments. In terms of opportunities, smart personal audio will be the fastest-growing category, up 32.1% year on year in 2020 to reach 490 million units, as Bluetooth headphones, earphones and TWS earbuds all grow. The second fastest-growing category will be smart speakers, up 21.7% to 150 million units in 2020, followed by wearable bands, which will grow 11.8% in 2020.

Canalys - Global smart device shipments in 2023

“The ambient computing paradigm is taking shape and getting ready for mass-market roll-out in the next five years,” said Jason Low, Senior Analyst at Canalys. “Smart devices, especially relatively new categories, such as smart personal audio devices, wearable bands and smart speakers, are forming multiple touchpoints to complete an intelligent ecosystem for consumers on the move, at work and at home. A lot of progress has been made in the past 12 months, and it will be the most important trend in consumer technology in 2020. It is becoming apparent to vendors that these devices are important as they offer different opportunities for user interactions and a more holistic approach to the user experience, as well as several key features that cannot be effectively achieved by smartphones alone.”

Canalys - global smart shipments per 100 smartphones in 2023

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ for ambient computing. Each vendor must take their own goals, capabilities and target audiences into account while they pick the right strategy. But there are many big bets to be made, especially for vendors new to this game,” said Canalys VP of Mobility Nicole Peng. “Apple has showcased its capabilities to form a tight-knit ecosystem of devices and user experiences. But others are choosing a more open strategy. Smartphone companies are challengers in consumer IoT but can weaponize their prominent position in the everyday digital user journey to expand beyond their core business. To reach more users, often including iOS users, they must think outside the box to provide seamless integration between smartphones and smart devices, both from a connectivity and a software standpoint. By contrast, platform vendors, such as Amazon and Google, are far ahead in terms of ecosystem-driven features and services. It is not just that their services are platform- and device-agnostic, they also have much more capable smart assistants. To compete, hardware vendors must consider how different ecosystem devices should be positioned to align with their respective strategies, while creating new business models to complement the overall ecosystem.”

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For more information, please contact:

Canalys China
Cynthia Chen: +86 158 2151 8439
Jason Low: +86 159 2128 2971
Nicole Peng: +86 150 2186 8330 

Canalys India
Madhumita Chaudhary: +91 77740 51094
Adwait Mardikar: +91 96651 38668

Canalys Singapore
Matthew Xie: +65 8223 38668
Shengtao Jin: +65 6657 9303 

Canalys UK
Mo Jia: +33 7 856 837 66
Ben Stanton: +44 7824 114 350 

Canalys USA
Marcy Ryan: +1 650 862 4299
Vincent Thielke: +1 650 644 9970

About Canalys

Canalys is an independent analyst company that strives to guide clients on the future of the technology industry and to think beyond the business models of the past. We deliver smart market insights to IT, channel and service provider professionals around the world. We stake our reputation on the quality of our data, our innovative use of technology and our high level of customer service.

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