According to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Pulse service which tracks sell-through (sales), global 5G smartphone sales contributed to 1% of the global smartphone market in 2019. The sales were driven by the early adoption of 5G in South Korea, the USA, and China, where operators played a big role in the adoption by offering subsidies and promotions. We expect 2020 to be the first inflection point in terms of 5G network rollouts, coverage and device availability.
Commenting on the results, Research Director, Tom Kang said, “Samsung was the leader in the 5G smartphone segment capturing 43% of the global sales volume for the full year 2019. Samsung offered the largest 5G product portfolio, ranging from the mid-tier to premium, and sub-6GHz to mmWave models. These smartphones also were widely available across South Korea, the USA, the EU, APAC and MEA countries compared to the competition. The strong operator and channel partnerships, in-house semiconductor prowess and broad reach helped Samsung gain a first mover’s advantage in 5G smartphones. However, 2020 will be the real test for Samsung, as it will face competition from the wave of lower-cost smartphones, thanks to China’s 5G ramp-up and 5G-capable Apple iPhones in the second half.”
Research Analyst, Parv Sharma, commenting on Huawei’s performance added, “Huawei captured the second position with 34% share of 5G smartphones sold globally, though most of the sales were in China. Huawei’s Mate 20 X was the only 5G phone with Google Mobile Services (GMS) selling outside China in 2019. 5G version of Huawei’s Mate 30 series drove the bulk of the demand across China, as users preferred upgrading to the 5G rather than the 4G version, futureproofing their purchase. We expect Huawei to be more aggressive in 2020, driving the 5G smartphone pricing down to sub-$200 price points by the end of the year. This will help Huawei capture the lion’s share of China’s 5G smartphone market and also increase its global market share thanks solely to its performance in China.”
Sharma, adds, “The competition in 5G is expected to increase as other Chinese OEMs: Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo and Realme will likely adopt Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 6 and 7 series 5G solutions as well as solutions from 5G chipsets from Samsung, MediaTek, UNISOC and, potentially, HiSilicon.”