One in Four Mobiles Purchased Online in 2020

  • Global online handset sales increased by almost 6% points in 2020 compared to the previous year.
  • This growth is expected to continue due to emerging market support and an increase in middle-aged online buyers.

Boston, Toronto, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – June 22, 2021

Online sales accounted for about 26% share of the global mobile phone market in 2020, according to Counterpoint Research’s recently published Global Online Smartphone Market Growth and Trends, H2 2020, report. This means that one in four mobile phones sold was purchased online. COVID-19 had a big role in this change in consumer behavior. By major country, India showed the highest online share at 45%, followed by the UK at 39% and China at 34%.

The share of online handset sales in 2020 increased by nearly 6% points compared to the previous year. In terms of market size, it increased by more than 10%. This trend was strong not only in advanced markets such as the US and Europe but also in emerging markets such as India and Latin America. In China, where the spread of COVID-19 first occurred, it peaked in the first half and softened slightly in the second half, while the US and India recorded the highest ever online share in the second half of 2020.

 Exhibit 1: Share of Online Sales in US, India and China Smartphone Markets, H2 2020

Counterpoint Research Share of Online Sales in US, India and China Smartphone Markets, H2 2020The report predicts that this trend of increasing online share will slow down for some time, and this year will be similar to the previous year or slightly lower. Senior Analyst Sujeong Lim said, “After the rapid growth in 2020, we expect 2021 to see some easing after the COVID-19 vaccination. However, it is expected to grow slightly every year from 2022 onwards, supported by growth in emerging markets and the middle-aged population becoming more accustomed to IT devices and internet use.”

Lim added, “But in the case of India, which currently has the highest online proportion, it may decrease to a certain level after 2022 due to the development of offline infrastructure such as multi-brand stores and large-scale retail stores. On the other hand, the future growth of the online market in SEA and MEA is noteworthy.”


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Analyst Contacts:

Sujeong Lim

Counterpoint Research

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