In brief

In brief

  • There are an increasing set of challenges facing the growth of the smartphone industry.
  • These challenges are being driven by three dominant trends.
  • Providers can choose between four strategies to pursue a path to profitable growth.


Decline for smartphone demand for 2020 with flat growth expected for 2021.

Trends behind industry change

Three trends are influencing the smartphone industry’s evolving landscape. For starters, the reemergence of customer experience as a top differentiator. Secondly, the explosion of connected products that stem from advanced technologies (e.g., AI, ML, etc.). Finally, the risk of supply chain disruptions brought on by geopolitical issues.

Each presents unique challenges to overcome and opportunities to exploit.

Rising trends over 2017-2020

Consumer interest in software and ecosystem features, choice of apps, and personal assistants continues to rise.

Four strategies to drive growth and profitability

Smartphone makers need to reconsider their focus and where in their industry’s evolving ecosystem they are best suited and most compelled to add value. We’ve identified four strategies providers can lean into to capture share of mind and wallet.

Strategy #1: Content and services provider

focused on creating and curating content

Strategy #2: Technology leader

trailblazers in hardware and software

Strategy #3: Connected products platform provider

expert at uniting the phone to everything

Strategy #4: Efficient operator

skilled at finding holes and filling gaps

View All
One key to competing successfully as a tech leader is understanding when to shift to new technology.

– HARVEY KIM, Managing Director

Core capabilities

Regardless of the strategies that a smartphone provider chooses to perform, there are three core capabilities that it must develop to build and maintain position as an industry leader.

  • Provide a customer experience that makes your brand shine
  • Build resiliency into your supply chain operations
  • Demonstrate purpose and sustainability to both employees and consumers

Five steps to fast track success

To navigate the path forward, leaders must ask themselves five critical questions. Among them, how does our organization build in governance and manage risk, while enabling innovation and agility?

For the full list of questions, download the report now.

About the Authors

Harvey Kim

Managing Director – Growth Markets, High Tech, Greater China

Shanshan Wu

Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, Greater China

Shaan Mahbubani

Senior Manager – Strategy & Consulting, High Tech

Hiroyuki Okabe

Manager – Accenture Research

Taylor Li Guo

Senior Principal – Accenture Research


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