As the new decade enters, smartphones will continue to dominate the global electronic device market. However, while 5G technology adoption is expected to accelerate by 2020, not all consumers plan to upgrade immediately to fifth generation mobile networks. The conclusions are advanced by the latest GSMA study, which was presented at the 2020 ETUC.
The results indicate that in most countries with high and middle income economies smartphone adoption is between 85 and 95%. However, consumers in Western markets seem to take a more cautious approach when upgrading their devices to 5G.
In the United States, for example, only 40% plan to join fifth generation mobile networks. In Europe, in countries such as Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the percentage of consumers who intend to do so is between 30 and 35%. The figures are a stark contrast to markets such as China and South Korea, where adoption levels are around 70% and 60%, respectively, with nearly half of Chinese respondents looking to buy a smartphone that is prepared for the market. 5G as soon as they are available.
The smart home and wearables market is another highlight of the study. While the deployment of web-connected devices is expected to increase exponentially by 2024, the GSMA indicates that fragmentation and mismatch between the variety of gadgets developed by manufacturers could affect the adoption of IoT ecosystem devices.
Nevertheless, the market segment is being boosted by the growing popularity of smart speakers. Evidence of a trend already demonstrated by Canalys, the GSMA indicates that the adoption of this type of gadgets was the fastest growing in 2019, and 21% of homes around the world already have them.
The adoption of fitness bracelets and smartwatches also registered strong growth in 2019, in line with the trend seen by IDC in December of the previous year. According to GMSA, Millennials are the generation with the highest levels of adoption of these devices. However, the study points out that technology companies are losing a large chunk of the market by not appealing to the older sections of society.
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