Smartphones with glass back to make 60% of shipments by 2020: Counterpoint

New Delhi, Oct 11 (IANS): Smartphones with glass backs will reach 26 per cent of total smartphone shipments by the end of this year and possibly 60 per cent by the end of 2020, Counterpoint Research said on Thursday.

Smartphones with glass backs have already penetrated the premium segment (80 per cent).

"Almost all the premium smartphones launched in 2018 came with a glass back and the trend is likely to stay for the rest of the year and beyond," said Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Counterpoint.

According to Hong Kong-based research firm, one of the reasons for glass becoming a preferred choice over metal is the overall look and feel of the device.

With average smartphone prices within the premium segment going up, smartphones with glass backs add to the overall look and feel, making them look more attractive and premium.

Another reason in favour of glass backs is the increasing adoption of wireless charging.

"Metals don't support wireless charging as effectively as a glass back does. However, the adoption of wireless charging is relatively low, with Samsung and Apple driving adoption," said Pathak.

As more smartphone makers start including "Qi" technology, the adoption of wireless charging is set to increase and can penetrate the mid-tier segments.

From a connectivity standpoint as well, glass doesn't interfere with radio waves and allows them to pass through easily and hence ensures strong signals for LTE, WiFI and Bluetooth.

Apple has almost 64 per cent of its portfolio with a glass back. Samsung, which started adopting glass backs much earlier than other OEMs, is also driving the trend with 36 per cent of its overall smartphone shipments sporting glass backs.

Within Chinese brands, Huawei has been driving the trend even within the $200 segment through its Honor series.

"Xiaomi took a different route, using a ceramic back in its Mix series. Due to challenges in generating mass for the material, it has started adopting glass backs," Pathak noted.

Vivo and OPPO have started adopting glass backs in their flagships F9 and V11 series.

"Going forward, almost all the smartphones in the premium segment ($400) are likely to sport glass backs," said the report.