According to the market research firm, TrendForce, the development of 5G smartphone has been quite explosive. This is possible because of the aggressive nature of the Chinese government’s 5G commercialization efforts. As of the first half of 2020, Chinese brands occupy about 75% of the global 5G smartphone market. However, this figure will appreciably reduce when Apple joins the 5G smartphone playground later this year. As per its forecast, 5G smartphones this year will exceed 200 million units. Specifically, TrendForce says that there will be 235 million 5G phones this year, this will make up an 18.9% penetration rate.
Of course, a good chunk of these will come from Chinese manufacturers. Huawei tops the list with an estimated 74 million 5G smartphones this year. Most of these Huawei 5G phones will be sold in China and adjoining regions. Due to the impact of U.S. sanctions, Huawei’s devices are not desirable outside China. This is because they do not come with Google Mobile Services which is a vital tool. Fortunately for Huawei, the Chinese smartphone market is the largest in the world. Furthermore, Huawei has a firm grip on the market thus its phone sales are still doing well.
As for Apple, TrendForce believes that it will rank second behind Huawei with about 70 million 5G units this year. However, the firm have reasons to believe that Apple’s sales may be lower if certain criteria comes into play. As usual for Apple, it centers on pricing. TrendForce says “5G functions will increase the production cost of smartphones accordingly. If Apple decides to directly reflect this added cost on the retail prices of the iPhone 12 series, it may lower its consumers’ willingness to purchase”. Obviously, this will negatively affect the sales performance of the iPhone 12 series.
Everyone will expect to see Samsung on the list and here it is. However, Samsung is not the first but third. In recent times, the company has some setbacks in the Chinese market. This is the reason why Huawei recently became the largest 5G smartphone brand globally. Samsung will manage to ship about 29 million 5G smartphones this year. This is significantly lower than that of Huawei and Apple. Nevertheless, its market share will be stable enough to be in the competition.
The other three slots in the top 6 are Chinese manufacturers Vivo, OPPO (including OnePlus, OPPO, and Realme) and Xiaomi. These brands have been in the shadows of Huawei in recent times. The aggressiveness of Huawei in China knowing that China is its only hope is suppressing these brands. However, they are now focusing on the foreign (outside China) markets to “maintain their yearly production performances”. For this year, Vivo is expected to ship 21 million 5G smartphones while Oppo and Xiaomi will ship 20 million and 19 million 5G phones respectively.