Samsung leads 5G smartphone sales

Samsung leads global 5G smartphone sales capturing 43% of the global sales volume for 2019.

According to Counterpoint’s Market Pulse service, 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.

Commenting on the results, Tom Kang, Research Director, Counterpoint 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 added Kang.

Parv Sharma, Research Analyst, Counterpoint said, “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.

“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,” added Sharma.

Commenting on the 5G chipset players for smartphones, Research Analyst, Shobhit Srivastava said, “In 2019 Qualcomm, Samsung and Huawei each captured around one-third of 5G smartphone chipset market. In 2020, we expect Qualcomm to gain share in the 5G smartphone chipset market, accounting for around 40% of the market followed Huawei with a 27% share. MediaTek 5G chipsets will be available during 2020 but its share is expected to be in single digits. Apple will be using a baseband solution from Qualcomm, meaning Qualcomm will account for around half the 5G smartphone baseband market in 2020.”

Vivo captured 5% share with sales in China following Huawei. It offered its cheapest 5G model in 2019 through its iQoo sub-brand with a 5G smartphone priced below $500. It was also the first OEM other than Samsung to launch a 5G smartphone with a Samsung 5G chipset. Xiaomi continues the strategy of offering smartphones at competitive prices. It launched a 5G smartphone at less than $400 and was in the fifth position globally, capturing a 3% share.

Oppo offered 5G smartphones in the premium segment in China, EU, and MEA and captured a 2% share.


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